Real Talkies

Real Talkies

Every cut is a lie. It’s never that way. Those two shots were never next to each other in time that way. But you’re telling a lie in order to tell the truth. –Wolf Koenig.

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HOT COFFEE & TORT REFORM

June 24, 2011 , , , , , ,

Tort is defined as a wrongful act not including a breach of contract or trust, that results in injury to another’s person, property, reputation or the like and for which the injured party is entitled to compensation. (Source: dictionary.com). One of the most famous tort cases in America is the McDonald’s hot coffee case.

SYNOPSIS of HOT COFFEE – Is Justice being served? 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.

The film is directed by a personal injury attorney Susan Saladoff and that essentially throws objectivity out of the window.

Saladoff seeks to dispel myths surrounding the case brought by 79-year old Stella Liebeck against McDonald’s. In 1989, Liebeck was a passenger in a parked car who was trying to put cream and sugar in a cup of McDonald’s coffee she held between her knees when it spilled. She won a $2.9 million jury award in Albuquerque, N.M., after she suffered third-degree burns to large portions of her thighs and buttocks, injuries graphically displayed in Saladoff’s film. An appeals court later reduced the award to $480,000, and Liebeck eventually settled for an undisclosed amount. Saladoff’s aim is to show that Liebeck’s case is just one example of the misperceptions and misinformation the public has about the American legal system. Source: Thomson Reuters News and Insight

Over the last two decades there have been campaigns to convince the public against frivolous lawsuits and the need for civil justice reform.

Tort reform is not a single law or idea but it is a group of ideas and laws designed to change the way the civil justice system works in the USA. In general tort reform law intends to do the following:

  1. Make it more difficult for injured people to file a lawsuit.
  2. Make it more difficult for injured people to obtain a jury trial.
  3. Place limits on the amount of money injured people receive in a lawsuit.

Source and For more information on Tort Reform: What is Tort Reform?

Recently, U.S. Supreme Court threw out a class action lawsuit against Wal-Mart that could have as many as 1.5 million plaintiffs alleging sexual discrimination. With that in mind, the film is strongly from the plaintiffs perspective and wonders if this is reform or is it severely limiting people’s access to the court systems. It premiers on June 27th on HBO in their summer documentary series. Visit film’s website for more information: HOT COFFEE.

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Tort reform is a legal weapon used in Texas against Texans ever since Governor Rick Perry signed the 2003 Tort Reform Act.

When there are laws on the books preventing the common man from getting accountability, no telling what will happen.

Providing a link to a video showing the collateral damage left behind tort reform in Texas.

If link is not accessible, Google Cleveland Mark Mitchell, then click on youtube Cleveland Mark Mitchell December 12 1950 – April 26 2008.

Thank you for your time,

Cilla Mitchell

A Texas nurse and vet

Cilla Mitchell

November 16, 2011

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