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The 79-Year-Old Poster Child for Tort Reform

January 19, 2012
Colson Hicks Eidson

We blogged yesterday about the facts stemming from the McDonald’s hot coffee case, which made Stella Liebeck the poster child for tort reform in America. Tort reform advocates want to limit jury awards and take other measures to cut-down on perceived frivolous litigation. In their efforts to do so, proponents of tort reform are glossing over the facts in favor of a memorable sound bite.

The documentary’s creator, Susan Saladoff, explained that politicians and large companies desire to reduce damage awards to plaintiffs in personal injury lawsuits. The film sets forth facts about the case that supporters of tort reform failed to disclose. In addition to the severity of the woman’s burn injuries, there was evidence that McDonald’s served extra hot coffee on purpose to cut-down on customer refills. Also, McDonald’s knew the coffee lids were faulty but continued to use them anyway. Initially, McDonald’s offered the woman an $800 settlement.

Saladoff is an attorney and reminded interviewers that plaintiffs have a right to a trial by jury under the 7th Amendment. Supporters of tort reform want to take away that constitutional right along with fair and just rewards for plaintffs’ injuries.

Have you suffered an injury at a restaurant?

Colson Hicks Eidson – Florida lawyers