Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Tort Reform, HBO Style

Last night, HBO premiered a documentary called Hot Coffee.  This film, by Susan Saladoff, explores the American reaction to the much maligned McDonald's hot coffee case in which a jury awarded $2.86 million in punitive damages.  As all good civ pro profs know, that award was set aside by the judge and the parties settled for a lower sum.  But, somehow, this case became a lightening rod for the tort reform crowd and critics of our "litigious" nation.

Reviews of the documentary are positive.  Here is the review in The Washington Post, and one from the New York Times.  Not all reviewers were convinced though, including one from the Miami Herald who believes that the film is "fundamentally dishonest."  I'll leave it up to readers to decide whether this is a film worth recommending to our students.



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