Hot Coffee - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Hot Coffee Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ November 29, 2014
Quite informative and interesting. It shows plainly how the public has often been deceived into distrust of the judicial system and how politicians' "fixes" to the system have resulted in injustice to the populace.
Super Reviewer
July 2, 2011
We've all heard about the case of a woman suing McDonald's for millions of dollars because she spilled coffee on herself. How much do you really know about it? Well apparently I didn't know much about it, and how severely burned the woman was(it shows pictures). This is a documentary that uses that case, along with 3 other cases, to shine a light on tort reform and the judicial system here in America. It's VERY eye opening. I learned quite a bit, and honestly it's a little scary to see how things really work. Like a woman who was raped while working for Halliburton, can't take them to court because of mandatory arbitration. There is a really sad case about a family who had twins, and a doctor messed up a diagnosis causing one of the twins to be brain damaged. Seeing what this family goes through and their struggles with the judicial system of Nebraska is almost unbelievable. The movie obviously has a political agenda, but one that I think more people should open their eyes to. Everyone should check this out sometime.
Harlequin68
Super Reviewer
½ May 27, 2013
So, you have probably heard the story about the woman who won a multi-million dollar court case because she spilled coffee on herself at McDonald's, and perhaps had a good laugh at it. Except it is no laughing matter when it happened to 79-year old Stella Liebeck, who almost died due to the severe burns, as evidenced by some very graphic photographs. And she was one of seven hundred such complaints that would lead McDonald's to lower the temperature of their coffee.

That same case would also turn out to be the prime example that the Tort Reform movement would use in calling for the elimination of so called frivolous lawsuits and reduction of court damages. What they are really interested in is corporate profits, and even go so far as to fix the game by funding the election of amenable judges.

To the credit of the documentary "Hot Coffee," it is not only interested in showing that there are two sides to every story but to also show why the civil court system is so necessary in allowing for citizens to seek redress, address wrongs and prevent future tragedies. What the film does so well is to put a very human face on these cases by also citing a neo-natal malpractice case and a young woman who was gang raped while working for Halliburton in Iraq. And now I have a newfound respect for Al Franken.
Super Reviewer
December 18, 2015
This documentary about the case involving the woman who sued McDonalds after having hot coffee spill onto her lap is a fascinating look at how the truth is often warped to make a more compelling story or a joke. Very insightful.
Super Reviewer
April 20, 2014
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.
Super Reviewer
April 4, 2012
Its the type of documentary that should be shown in classrooms just so younger generations can have, at the very least, a basic understanding of how our legal system works and how easily it can be manipulated (or at least how easily the public can be manipulated to believe just about anything).
½ September 9, 2014
You think you know all about the "Suing McDonalds over hot coffee" case? Think again. This documentary is definitely worth a watch.
½ July 11, 2011
Another must-see documentary. If you care about the USA and its legal system it's sure to piss you off.
October 21, 2015
Effective storytelling that stirs up one's sense of justice. Three main stories are presented. However, the third and final story has some holes and is a yet unverified case.
½ June 25, 2015
This documentary seems deliberately constructed to mislead the casual viewer, conflating areas of law and issues which are in fact wholly distinct. The overuse of arbitration agreements, for example, falls under an entirely different area of law than from seeing justice done in a rape case and from a tort case for 'hot coffee'.

The underpinning theme of the documentary, access to justice, is as noble as any. It's conclusions, on the other hand, are ill-founded and the result of rampant segwaying between issues without any pause for thought or justification.
February 13, 2015
Don't watch this documentary if you have high blood pressure. When you hear how big money has manipulated the legal system away from helping the individual, it will go through the damned roof.

This is on Netflix.
Super Reviewer
½ November 29, 2014
Quite informative and interesting. It shows plainly how the public has often been deceived into distrust of the judicial system and how politicians' "fixes" to the system have resulted in injustice to the populace.
November 26, 2014
HOT COFFEE (dir. Susan Saladoff) This is a documentary about the woman who spilled a cup of McDonald's coffee on her lap, filed a crazy lawsuit and made millions. "Jackpot Justice", "Frivolous Lawsuits", "Disappearing Doctors", we all know about this one, but have we been given the true facts? This brilliant documentary carefully and methodically shows how Big Business and the Republican Party manipulated this story, and others like it, in an attempt to block citizens from seeking redress in the courts. In order to have any impact in the legislative and executive branches of government you must have access to millions of dollars, and this gives the Super Rich an unbeatable edge. In the judicial branch of government, money is not a factor. A jury of twelve ordinary citizens make the decisions, and 'the job creators' and 'the one percenters' are legally prevented from using their unfair advantage of cash to orchestrate the results.

By the way, here's the facts on The McDonald's Case. In 1994 Stella Liebeck accidentally spilled hot coffee in her lap after purchasing it from a McDonald's restaurant and suffered third-degree burns in her pelvic region. Liebeck was hospitalized for eight days while she underwent skin grafting, followed by two years of medical treatment. Although McDonald's had over 700 other complaints concerning injuries due to coffee heated to over 190 degrees Fahrenheit, the company only offered Liebeck eight hundred dollars in compensation for her injury. In the end, both parties settled out of court for an undisclosed amount under $600,000. 'Greedy Victim' and 'Bleeding Heart Jury' are terms that certainly Do Not apply, but you wouldn't think so after listening to how Republicans were able to use this case to invent a bogus issue called, 'Tort Reform'. ABSOLUTE MUST SEE!!!!!!
September 13, 2014
I can't believe that people made so much fun of this poor woman when she was really seriously hurt (2nd degree burns, turned her thighs black) and McDonald's had multiple prior complaints and was well aware of the problem; it was completely preventable. Spilled coffee shouldn't require hospitalization.
August 7, 2014
You think you know the whole story of the old lady suing Mcdonalds for the spilling of coffee, think again. This doc went places I was not expecting. Very interesting stuff.
June 28, 2014
Incredibly revealing. It teaches you to question, research, and second guess before making a presumption or holding an opinion . I wish more people would see this movie and learn to let their stance and opinions change and grow with time and new information.
June 14, 2014
Think you know what happened in the McDonald's hot coffee lawsuit? Nope. You do not. This was pretty fascinating, and horrifying. No surprise how many times Karl Rove's name came up.
½ January 3, 2014
Gives a very different angle of view. Changed my opinion about consumer lawsuits
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