Second, I’m three things depending upon the issue. On some issues I’m a conservative. On others a liberal. And on others a moderate. I just watched Hot Coffee, a documentary titled for the infamous McDonald’s hot coffee case. Stella Liebeck suffered severe burns after placing a cup of hot coffee between her legs while sitting in the passenger seat of a parked car. Opening the lid to add cream and sugar, she accidentally tipped the cup over, spilling coffee over the inside of her thighs, buttocks and genital area.
Only the Snow Queen could be unsympathetic. Mrs. Liebeck’s third degree burns were awful. Really terrible. She sued McDonald’s for help with her medical bills. A jury awarded her significant punitive damages which a judge later reduced.
A fact for your consideration: In the ten years prior to Mrs. Liebeck’s accident, McDonald’s received over seven hundred complaints about their coffee. In that same time period, they sold around ten billion cups of coffee.
Be warned. This is not an impartial documentary. The film was made by a trial lawyer.
I have nothing against trial lawyers. They aren’t related to Satan. My father is a retired trial lawyer and he’s an upstanding guy. Honest to a fault. And I’m on the fence when it comes to tort reform, sometimes in favor, sometimes not.
But most big corporations aren’t related to Satan either.
Much of the film addresses Jamie Leigh Jones and her case against KBR, a subsidiary of Halliburton. (Speaking of Halliburton, here’s what I’ve always said about Dick Cheney – at least he has a brain. He may have an evil brain, but at least he has one. Reminds me of Pinky and the Brain.) If you watch Hot Coffee, consider both sides – I encourage you to read this article in Mother Jones, a liberal journal – Why Jamie Leigh Jones Lost Her KBR Rape Case.
As sympathetic as I am to victims of wrong-doing, and I’m extremely sympathetic, I’m not entirely convinced… well, let me put it this way – we want the government out of our lives, yet at the same time we want the government to save us from our own stupidity.
A few observations and questions:
My husband bitches and moans if his coffee isn’t the temperature of molten lava, but I have to cool mine down to lukewarm before I can drink it.
Have you ever burned the roof of your mouth by taking a big bite out of a bubbling hot piece of pizza? Did you consider filing a lawsuit because of the injury to your palate?
I’m not a fan of cigarettes, and I think parents who smoke around their children are idiots, but if you smoke and you get lung cancer or bladder cancer or emphysema, don’t come crying to me, blaming the tobacco companies. The cigarette/cancer/emphysema connection has been common knowledge for at least two generations, maybe three. So don’t act all surprised when you end up toting around that portable oxygen unit.
Should Mrs. Liebeck have sued the car company in addition to McDonald’s because her grandson’s car had no cup holders?
Should a restaurant cut your steak into itty-bitty baby pieces so you can’t choke on it?
Is it the doughnut’s fault you ate it?
I don’t know…