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Debunking “Hot Coffee” Myths

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The phrase “paints a picture” shows up many times in the series of videos hosted on, a website and series of videos created to discredit the claims presented in the 2011 Hot Coffee documentary. A panel of legal experts discusses how the film is one-sided propaganda that does not give all the facts, instead presenting exceptions as the rule. Many of their claims, however, do not stand up to scrutiny. Among their allegations:

  • Hot Coffee did not properly define “tort.” Properly defining “tort” would involve a lengthy definition too technical for an audience unfamiliar with legal terms. The doc summarized the term in a way that made sense for a general audience.
  • Hot Coffee presents single incidents as the norm. The panelists claim that 700 hot coffee burn complaints are not bad compared to the billions of cups of coffee McDonald’s serves every year. And yes, the panelists admit, maybe there are a few bad judges that are elected to represent business interests, but not always. However, the does not challenge the fact that these events occurred, nor do they present facts or statistics to discredit the documentary.
  • Hot Coffee unfairly represents arbitration. One section of Hot Coffee tells the story of Jamie Leigh Jones, the plaintiff in a major sexual assault case against Halliburton. An arbitration clause in her contract prevented her from suing Halliburton, leading to many arbitration reform initiatives. The panelists argue that arbitration – resolving disputes in a private venue selected by the company – is very similar to a courtroom setting…except for the fact that corporations win 94 percent of arbitration cases, according to Public Citizen.

It is no surprise that was created by the Institute for Legal Reform, a branch of the  Chamber of Commerce intent on capping damages in injury and wrongful death lawsuits.

If you sustained an injury or trauma from a defective product or service, contact us today for a free initial consultation.

“And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” – John 8:32

The Law Office of Stanley A. Davis – Nashville wrongful death attorney

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