${site.data.firmName}${SEMFirmNameAlt}Veron, Bice, Palermo
& Wilson, LLC Land & Soil Contamination : Vehicle Collisions : Personal Injury

Documentary on McDonald's Coffee Case challenges Americans to think about "Frivolous" Lawsuits

The documentary "Hot Coffee" debuts next Monday, June 27 at 8 p.m. Central Standard Time on HBO. The documentary is a challenge to and an analysis on the American public's long-held belief that the plaintiff in the McDonald's Coffee Case profited from spilling hot coffee on her lap and therefore abused the legal system. While the coffee case was a product liability case, the documentary also looks at three other personal injury cases to challenge the notion of frivolous lawsuits and demonstrates how tort reform threatens civil rights.

When many people think about the McDonald's Hot Coffee Case, they think about a woman who made a lot of money for simply spilling coffee on herself. Some people even say they wished it would have them that spilled the coffee; with the implication that they too would have "made out like a bandit." The problem is the woman in the McDonald's Coffee case did not make out like a bandit.

The facts of the case are that a 79-year-old woman ordered a 49 cent coffee from the drive-through window of McDonald's. The elderly woman was seated in the passenger seat of her nephew's car and placed the coffee cup between her legs to add sugar and cream. During the process of removing the lid of the container, the woman spilled the entire cup of coffee in her lap. The woman suffered third-degree burns on her thighs, buttocks and groin. She spent the next eight days in the hospital while skin grafts were performed to heal her damaged skin. The woman endured two years of medical treatment afterward.

It did not take long for the elderly woman in the McDonald's Case to be portrayed as the prime example of what was wrong with the tort system in the United States: profiteering from frivolous lawsuits. Everyday Americans give up their rights by agreeing to contracts that do not allow a legal dispute to go to court or by voting for limitations on damages. Watch the documentary to learn about the civil justice system in America and to possibly challenge your own beliefs.

Source: HBO.com, "Hot Coffee synopsis," 6/24/11

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
Awards & Recognition
Super Lawyers
Best Lawyers
Best Law Firms
10 Best Client Satisfaction
Louisiana Alliance
Bar Register
Multi Million Dollars
American Institute
American Jurist Institute TOP 10 Attorneys
TOP 100 Attorneys American Jurist Institute 2017

Need Help? Schedule A Free Consultation

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Our Office Location

721 Kirby Street
Lake Charles, LA 70601

Phone: 337-513-4436
Fax: 337-310-1601
Lake Charles Law Office Map

Phone Numbers

Email us