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Hot Coffee Documentary Research Paper


Tort reform remains a widely contested issue in the United States and across the globe. According to Schmerler (2011), this reform refers to the new changes proposed to reduce tort damages, lawsuits, and laws. The documentary “Hot Coffee” offers a critical analysis and discussion about tort reform in the country.

The film discusses how different cases have been misused (or used) to promote this issue of tort reform in the United States (Saladoff, 2011). The documentary offers useful highlights to describe how giant companies such as McDonald’s have presented new laws to replace the current jury system.

Hot Coffee Reflection

From a personal perspective, this documentary presents a clear insight into the problem with McDonald’s and other companies’ contracts. To begin with, the movie presents a unique insight into the infamous Liebeck v. MacDonald’s Restaurants case. Many politicians and legal practitioners have misused (or used) this case to support or defeat tort reform in the country.

The film “Hot Coffee” informs the viewer about the facts surrounding the case (Saladoff, 2011). The film also features other cases such as Jamie Leigh Jones v. Halliburton Company. These court cases explain how “corporations and agencies have spent billions in an attempt to support tort reforms in the United States” (Okrent, 2014, p. 58).

Many corporations and their insurers have always been on the frontline to attack civil juries in the past three decades. Such contracts have lobbied for legal frameworks that can take reimbursement decisions away from the justice system (Goldberg & Zipursky, 2010). The film explains how the idea to cap damages for the injured will always be a major concern. The film goes further to explain how most of these powerful corporations and contracts can have enormous control over the jury systems (Goldberg & Zipursky, 2010).

The testimonies and evidence presented in the movie explain why many citizens in American have remained silent over this issue. This documentary maintains that many giant companies have designed new contracts and structures that can strip away the rights of the people (Ruschmann & Marzilli, 2009).

These efforts and practices behind the reform have undermined the citizens’ rights to a jury. The corporate world presents “new contracts to fund a new public relationship drive” (Schmerler, 2011, p. 2). The pioneers want to change our thoughts and perceptions about the Civil Jury System.

The most amazing thing is that the public is not aware of the implications of this tort reform. The documentary examines the issue from all dimensions using a number of case studies, personal testimonies, and court cases (Helland & Tabarrok, 2006). This film does a commendable job. This is true because it informs more people about the consequences of tort reform policies and laws. The corporate world has tried to deceive the people about the appropriateness of tort reform (Saladoff, 2011).

However, the documentary tackles the subject squarely in order to convince the people about the dangers of this reform. Liebeck v. McDonald’s Restaurants case explains how giant companies use uncouth behaviors in order to succeed. The film informs the reader about the facts of the case (Schmerler, 2011). It also encourages citizens to protect their rights.

This documentary reminds the viewer about the controversial McDonald’s Coffee case. Many scholars and analysts have identified this case as the best example of how corporations and tycoons have taken advantage of the country’s legal system. The film offers an unbiased response to the Liebeck v. McDonald’s Restaurants case.

It also explores how the case gained much attention (Saladoff, 2011). The viewer also understands how the company profited. The documentary is a revelation because it teaches the people how big companies continue to spin the media in order to succeed (Goldberg & Zipursky, 2010). This scenario explains why every citizen should be aware of this reform.

The film has informed me how the judicial and legal systems thrive on cash. Most of these giant corporations have succeeded because they have money. The citizens have continued to suffer because they lack the required cash. This movie indicates why business corporations will always win unless the government offers an immediate solution.

These corporations will fund and sponsor every evidence or testimony in the courtroom. More documentaries and journal entries will inform more people about this looming problem (Goldberg & Zipursky, 2010). The outstanding fact is that the court system should always be ready to protect the rights and liberties of the people.


In conclusion, every person should be ready to analyze this problem before making his or her final decision. I am happy because this documentary has widened my eyes about the ongoing tort reform debate. It informs the citizens why many corporations have continued to support this reform.

The film explains why we should support the traditional Civil Jury System in order to safeguard the needs and rights of American citizens. I am encouraging every person to watch this documentary because it offers something special and meaningful towards a free nation.

Reference List

Goldberg, J., & Zipursky, B. (2010). The Oxford Introductions to U.S. Law: Torts. New York: Oxford University Press.

Helland, E., & Tabarrok, A. (2006). Judge and Jury: American Tort Law on Trial. New York: Independent Institute.

Okrent, C. (2014). Torts and Personal Injury Law. Cengage: Cengage Learning.

Ruschmann, P., & Marzilli, A. (2009). Tort Reform. London: Chelsea House Publishers.

Saladoff, S. (Executive Producer). (2011). Hot Coffee [DVD]. New York, USA: HBO.

Schmerler, J. (2011). Frivolous Lawsuits and How We Perceive Them. Yale Journal of Medicine and Law, 8(1), 1-4.

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"Hot Coffee Documentary." IvyPanda, 27 Mar. 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/hot-coffee-documentary/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'Hot Coffee Documentary'. 27 March.

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