Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Hot Coffee

Hot Coffee; The Story of a Family's Fight Through Our Civil Justice

A young mom says to me “I could have sued my doctor, but my son turned out fine”.  I asked her why she would sue her doctor as we watched her son dancing to the music.  “Because they made so many mistakes”, she said.

I found myself explaining to her that a lawyer would probably not take the case if there was no pain and suffering, no loss of life and not even an injury.  I tried to tell her.  We don’t sue people because we don’t like them.  There isn’t a “winnings” or “jackpot” like the media likes to make it seem. That’s all for the media, it’s not real life.
I spoke with the daughter and son-in-
law of  Stella Liebeck who spilled
hotcoffee on herself and sued
I was telling her about “Hot Coffee” a movie that finally shares with the public the truth about the McDonalds hot coffee that spilled into the lap of the elderly woman many years ago.  Most people think she spilled her coffee and because of inconvenience, sued McDonalds for a large sum of money. 
That’s not the way it happened.  I saw the movie twice and knew the story because I followed it years ago when I started patient safety.  People make comments about lawsuits without knowing the facts. People just like to comment not thinking how hurtful or inaccurate their comments might be.
I saw the movie the first night at the premier in New York City.  I got to speak to the family of the woman who spilled the coffee.  “I’m a scientist, an educated man with a good paying job” the son-in-law told me.  “This was not about money”.  I believed him.  The next 90 minutes was a riveting movie about America’s civil justice system like you just don’t know it.   


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