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HOT COFFEE: An Eye-Opening Look at Corporate Co-Option of Our Civil Justice System

March 13, 2012

“Stunning debut … Sends audiences out of the theater thinking in a brand new way.”
—The Washington Post

 

hot_coffee-the_movie     
Law students, faculty, and staff are invited to attend an enlightening program featuring a partial screening of the award-winning documentary, Hot Coffee, about the Albuqueque woman who spilled coffee on herself and sued McDonald’s.

 

Monday, March 19, 2012

11:30 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.

Room 110 of Tulane Law School (John Giffen Weinmann Hall, 6329 Freret Street)

 

Susan Saladoff, who practiced law as a public interest lawyer prior to directing and producing Hot Coffee, will be on hand to address the misunderstood implications of the case and the public opinion toward tort reform. Local litigator Russ Herman of the sponsoring law firm, Herman, Herman, Katz & Cotlar, will deliver a special introduction.


ABOUT HOT COFFEE: Is Justice Being Served?

Seinfeld mocked it. Letterman ranked it in his top ten list. And more than fifteen years later, its infamy continues. Everyone knows the McDonald’s coffee case. It has been routinely cited as an example of how citizens have taken advantage of America’s legal system, but is that a fair rendition of the facts? Hot Coffee reveals why the case garnered so much media attention, who funded the effort and to what end. After seeing this film, you will decide who really profited from spilling hot coffee.

LINK to the official film trailer  (2min, 29 sec.) 


ABOUT THE DIRECTOR

Susan Saladoff (Producer, Director) spent twenty-five years practicing law in the civil justice system, representing injured victims of individual and corporate negligence. She stopped practicing law in 2009 to make the documentary, Hot Coffee, her first feature-length film. She began her career as a public interest lawyer with the law firm of Trial Lawyers for Public Justice, now known as Public Justice, an organization that, for the last 25 years, has been at the forefront of keeping America's courthouse doors open to all. Susan was recognized by her peers as an Oregon Super Lawyer for five consecutive years from 2006 to 2010. She is a graduate of Cornell University and George Washington University Law School, and has frequently lectured at the state and national levels on the importance of the civil justice system. 


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Contact:

Meri Monsour

Hoffman Miller Advertising

(504) 484-3442

meri@hmadvertising.com

 

Law Firm Hosts “Hot Coffee” Documentary Screening at Tulane

NEW ORLEANS, MARCH 12, 2012 - Herman, Herman, Katz & Cotlar will be hosting a screening of the documentary, “Hot Coffee” at Tulane University on Monday, March 19 at 11:30 a.m. The film reveals what really happened to Stella Liebeck, the Albuquerque woman who spilled coffee on herself and sued McDonald’s in the late 1990’s. Monday’s screening will feature a special introduction by master litigator and HHK&C partner Russ Herman, as well as a question-and-answer session with Producer / Director Susan Saladoff following the film.

 

More than 15 years later, the McDonald’s coffee case is still cited as a prime example of how citizens use seemingly frivolous lawsuits to take unfair advantage of America’s legal system. Producer and director Susan Saladoff created “Hot Coffee” to challenge viewers to reexamine these long-held beliefs surrounding such high profile lawsuits, focusing on the concept of tort reform.

 

The film follows four people whose lives were devastated by the attacks on U.S. courts to expose the influence corporate America has on the civil justice system.Saladoff highlights four “exhibits” in her film - the Public Relations Campaign highlights the debate over tort reform and the lengths to which corporations will go to distort the public’s view of lawsuits; Caps on Damages examines the validity of a “one-size-fits-all” award; Judicial Elections exposes the reality of judicial campaign donations; and Mandatory Arbitration, which takes a deeper look at the arbitration clauses in contracts we are required to sign, thus limiting our access to a jury trial. 

 

“Hot Coffee” has been an official selection of over three dozen film festivals in 2011 and 2012, including Sundance Film Festival, Silverdocs, and Hot Docs; it won the Grand Jury prize for Best Documentary at the 2011 Seattle International Film Festival. “Hot Coffee” premiered June 27, 2011 on HBO.

 

###


NEWS RELEASE

January 20, 2012—Seinfeld mocked it. Letterman put it on one of his Top Ten lists. More than 15 years later, the McDonald’s coffee case is cited as a prime example of how citizens use “frivolous” lawsuits to take unfair advantage of America’s legal system. But is that an accurate portrayal of the facts?

The concept of tort reform is both misunderstood and misrepresented. And yet it has become part of every campaign cycle, including the 2012 elections, espoused by both Republicans and Democrats. Similarly, mandatory arbitration clauses placed by corporate entities into contracts and a flood of corporate dollars into electing state and local judges friendly to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's view of how the world should be, have dangerously chipped away at Americans' 7th Amendment right to a civil jury trial.

Informative and entertaining, the film Hot Coffee, recently re-released on H BO, challenges viewers to reexamine long-held beliefs that winning lawsuits is easy and the legal system is like the lottery, leading to “jackpot justice.”

The feature film debut from Producer, Director Susan Saladoff, Hot Coffee, follows four people whose lives were devastated by the attacks on our courts to expose the influence of corporate America on our civil justice system.

The four “exhibits” highlighted in the film include:

  • Exhibit One: The Public Relations Campaign—highlights the debate over tort reform and the lengths to which corporations will go to distort the public’s view of lawsuits.
  • Exhibit Two: Caps on Damages—examines the validity of a one size fits all amount of money awarded to an injured person after they’ve won their case against a corporation.
  • Exhibit Three: Judicial Elections—analyzes the influence businesses have on electing pro-business Supreme Court judges, and exposes the reality of judicial campaign donations.
  • Exhibit Four: Mandatory Arbitration—takes a deeper look at the arbitration clauses in contracts we are required to sign, thus limiting our access to a jury trial.

For more information, visit  www.hotcoffeethemovie.com .



Sources:
Louisiana Association for Justice (March 9, 2012).
 
Meri Monsour, Hoffman Miller Advertising (March 14, 2012).

 
   


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