Friday, July 01, 2011

Day 42
Friday Night at the Movies....

Hot Coffee 
River Girls Italian Orange Mocha Soap..
Very hot..figuratively speaking.
Think large corporations are at the mercy of greedy consumers suing right and left? Seeing Hot Coffee may quash that notion. One of the more riveting movies I have seen in 2011, the film begins with a short exploration of the infamous McDonald's "hot coffee" case which is frequently held up as a symbol of frivolous lawsuits in America. Hot Coffee explodes that notion.

Viewers discover that the victim, an active and still working 79 year old woman, was passed a cup of 180 degree coffee that spilled on her thighs, legs, genitals and pubic area. Anyone who has given birth in America probably recalls the medical staff and all baby books recommending you turn down your water heater to 120 before bringing the child home. Reflect on what 180 degrees truly means. At the hottest, coffee  in most home carafes is 135 - 140 degrees.

What followed for the woman was third degree burns and a
 series of expensive and painful grafts. The photos of the raw injures are stomach turning as is the revelation that 700 additional severe burns cases had already been reported to McDonalds with no change in coffee policy.  

Later the movie Hot Coffee profiles other cases. Most 
noteworthy is a 19 year old American woman who joined Halliburton to work in Iraq. She arrived there to find herself not in separate quarters from the male workers as she had been promised. One night, she is drugged, beaten and anally and vaginally raped by a group of a male Halliburton employees. The injuries require extensive surgery, and then she discovers that the paperwork she signed when accepting the position intricately outlined a forced arbitration clause. This, in effect, says she can never sue the company for any reason.

Unknown to her and most Americans, we increasingly have begun to sign such clauses with our jobs, our credit cards, cell phones and in some cases, health insurance plans. In doing so we blindly cede a fundamental right--a jury trial--and discover that in up to 90 % of arbitration cases, the corporation is sided with; attempts to recoup any damages rebuffed. The movie  also covers the rise of states such as Texas imposing caps on damages and the unexpected impact. It is an intensely engaging film and seems shorter than it is.

Ultimately, Hot Coffee merely echoes what I constantly assert: everyone hates lawyers until they've been wronged, and desperately, sadly need one. And increasingly, Americans are giving away their civil liberties.

You can now see Hot Coffee through July 28 on HBO,on demand and HBO to go. It is also showing at film festivals across the US.
Want to see the trailer? Go here.
Want to know what you never heard on the McDonald's case? Surf here.

Good night,

No comments:

Blog Archive