Hot Coffee: Two Views on Tort Reform

side note: I have yet to see the new documentary “Hot Coffee,” but have read enough of the press surrounding it to know it is making a significant impact. This blog post from Forbes.com may be heavy handed with its own bias, but it does illustrate why people have such a visceral reaction to tort reform issues. The section on “Pain & Suffering Caps” (the second subheading in the article) deals with limiting the verdict amount of non-economic compensation, which is the gold standard tort reform in medical professional liability, and highlights the intellectually honest arguments for such caps.

The Merriam Webster Dictionary’s definition of the word “propaganda” is “ideas, facts, or allegations spread deliberately to further one’s cause or damaging an opposing cause.”  That definition fits a spare-no-expense 90-minute documentary movie titled Hot Coffee.  The purpose of the movie’s dedicated producer, Susan Saladoff, a Oregon plaintiffs’ lawyer, is to undermine the purpose and credibility of the United States’ civil justice reform movement.  While the movie’s pro-plaintiff’s transparency may elude some, it is more likely to be the center of a ruckus cheering section for the plaintiffs’ bar.  Four of their biggest pet peeves are the movie’s focus.

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