Hot Coffee | 2010
The infamous 1994 McDonald's hot coffee lawsuit has been routinely cited as an example of how citizens have taken advantage of America's legal system. The public outrage over this perceived legal frivolity resulted in legal reform to favor big business. This larger legislative agenda, sold to the public as a means of protecting honest citizens, had been underway since the 1980s, and its success has masked an effort to close off the one forum where average citizens have a fighting chance at holding corporations accountable to the law. Here, we learn what really happened to Stella Liebeck, the Albuquerque woman who spilled coffee on herself and sued McDonald's for over $2 million dollars. While exploring how and why the case garnered so much media attention, who funded the effort and to what end, it is revealed that many long-held beliefs about our civil justice system have been funded by the agenda of corporate America. Three more intriguing and misunderstood cases are explored.