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Spinning Spilled ‘Hot Coffee’ To Take Away The Right To Sue?

Here & Now Guest:

  • Susan Saladoff, director-producer of “Hot Coffee

When 79-year-old Stella Liebeck spilled a cup of McDonald’s coffee in her lap in February of 1992, her injuries and resulting lawsuit against McDonald’s ignited a firestorm of criticism and satire when the jury awarded her $2.7 million.

Liebeck’s case was portrayed as a case of a jackpot jury, or the justice system run amok. However, as first-time filmmaker and attorney Susan Saladoff portrays in a new documentary film “Hot Coffee,” airing on HBO, not only were Liebeck’s injuries severe, but her case was used by business interests to rally support for “tort reform,” which masked a campaign to limit the average person’s right to sue, both at the federal and state levels.


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