• Network:
  • Series Premiere Date: Jun 27, 2011
  • Season #: 1
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  • Summary: This documentary about tort reform focuses on the issues brought up from the McDonald's hot coffee lawsuit from 1994.
  • Genre(s): Documentary
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 3
  2. Negative: 0 out of 3
  1. Reviewed by: Hank Stuever
    Jun 27, 2011
    80
    It winnows down complicated legal arguments and anecdotal cases with compassion and clarity.
  2. Reviewed by: David Hinckley
    Jun 27, 2011
    80
    Hot Coffee presents one side of a discussion whose resolution may ultimately be found in the middle. Its greatest value is that this is the side less heard.
  3. Reviewed by: Glenn Garvin
    Jun 27, 2011
    50
    Yet even in its best moments, Hot Coffee is done in by its essential dishonesty. Saladoff, who learned filmmaking while preparing mini-documentaries for use in trials, is a gifted director with a sure touch for pacing and an extraordinary talent for rendering complex legal doctrine into easily comprehended language. But like any good lawyer--and unlike any good documentarian--she's intent on concealing the weakness in her case.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 0 out of 1
  2. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. Apr 20, 2014
    4
    Like most documentaries, Hot Coffee uses a sample size of cases in the minority to push it's own agenda. The focus of the film is on tort reform and how it hurts people who have been legitimately injured. Tort laws put caps on the amount of money that an injured party can get, in certain types of lawsuits, for the purpose of stopping what the government considers to be frivolous claims. The documentary focuses on five specific cases and brings up the old discussion on whether or not it's better to let ten guilty men go free, rather than to punish one innocent person. Yes, the people in these stories were legitimately hurt and didn't get a fraction of what they deserved, because of these laws, but they are the exception instead of the rule. The most notable case the documentary focuses on is the case in which an elderly woman sued McDonald's, after she spilled hot coffee on herself. It's a case most people would consider frivolous, until you actually hear the facts. The woman's legal team was able to show that she received third degree burns and almost lost her life, because McDonald's required their coffee to be kept at a ridiculous 190 degrees. The elderly woman won over two million dollars, but had her award capped due to tort laws and the result was barely enough money to cover her medical bills. As I said before, these cases are exceptions to the rule, and by compiling these exceptions, this documentary makes it appear as though innocent American's are being screwed on a daily basis, which isn't true. While some people unfortunately fall through the cracks, the film fails to mention all the fraud and non-sense that has been stopped by these laws, or how these laws have kept insurance costs down. The bottom line, anyone can push any agenda they want, as long as they find a few select examples that can make their case for them, but it doesn't mean that their claims have merit. Expand