Hot Coffee (SIFF 2011)

Do you remember hearing about that person who sued McDonald’s because their coffee was too hot? I remember thinking “Really? Did they expect the coffee to be cold? Wouldn’t you want your coffee to be hot?” I also remember thinking that I was disgusted at the litigious nature of our current society. Then I saw Hot Coffee and a face and a name was put to this case and the details shocked me. What if you learned that the victim in this case was an elderly woman who suffered burns so severe that she ended up in the hospital for weeks requiring intensive care services and skin grafts to correct the burns she suffered?

This documentary tells the story of this elderly victim, her family, and their case to get McDonalds to help cover the cost of her care related to her coffee burns. We learn about other complaints to the company over the excessive temperature of their hot beverages and other, though less severe, injuries that had been reported prior to this lawsuit being filed.

I still believe that we are in overly litigious society and unfortunately this particular case open the door for many other people to to attempt to sue fast food chains for ridiculous claims. However, this particular victim had a legitimate case and it’s unfortunate that it got sensationalized and ridiculed due to people not knowing (or caring about) the facts, and was then marginalized by the ridiculous lawsuits that followed in the wake of her situation.

Provided Film Synopsis
Do you remember the woman who spilled hot coffee in her lap and then sued McDonald’s? Can you recall any of the actual details, or, like many, does your recollection consist of sound bites, media clips, and late night monologues? This fiercely entertaining documentary explores what really happens when someone attempts to stand up to a corporation in the U.S. judicial system. With a clear eye for the facts and a crusader’s zeal for the truth, director Susan Saladoff tells the story of tort reform—or lack thereof—in America, from the perspective of those who have been in the trenches battling hordes of corporate lawyers in an attempt to seek justice in a court of law. Hot Coffee follows the regular folks demonized by the right and championed by the left as their personal injury lawsuits go before the courts. Heartbreaking, surprising, and ultimately infuriating, this will make you think twice next time you see a news clip about so-called “jackpot lawsuits,” and the people involved whose lives have been forever altered by corporate indifference or outright malfeasance.

Movie Details

  • Directed By:

    • Susan Saladoff
  • Cast Members:

  • Countries:

    • USA
  • Languages:

    • English
  • Genres:

    • Documentary