Hot Coffee

2011

Hot Coffee

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86%

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User Ratings: 844

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Movie Info

Seinfeld mocked it. Letterman ranked it in his top ten list. And more than fifteen years later, its infamy continues. Everyone knows the McDonald's coffee case. It has been routinely cited as an example of how citizens have taken advantage of America's legal system, but is that a fair rendition of the facts? Hot Coffee reveals what really happened to Stella Liebeck, the Albuquerque woman who spilled coffee on herself and sued McDonald's, while exploring how and why the case garnered so much media attention, who funded the effort and to what end. After seeing this film, you will decide who really profited from spilling hot coffee. -- (C) Official Site

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Critic Reviews for Hot Coffee

All Critics (3) | Fresh (3)

  • Everyone knows about the woman who spilled coffee on herself and won a $3 million judgment against McDonalds, but it turns out that most of what everyone knows about this case is wrong.

    October 5, 2012 | Rating: 6/10 | Full Review…
  • Everyone knows about the woman who spilled coffee on herself and won a $3 million judgment against McDonalds, but it turns out that most of what everyone knows about this case is wrong.

    April 12, 2012 | Rating: 6/10 | Full Review…
  • provides a journey through a legal system that is incrementally being subsumed by corporate interests on a daily basis.

    February 3, 2011 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Hot Coffee

  • Dec 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.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Nov 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.
    Christian C Super Reviewer
  • Apr 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.
    Todd S Super Reviewer
  • 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.
    Walter M Super Reviewer

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