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The Playlist

Review: 'Hot Coffee' An Eye-Opening, Must-See Doc About A Legal Case You Thought You Knew

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • June 27, 2011 2:56 AM
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  • 8 Comments
In 1994, a decision in a seemingly innocuous legal case made waves around the country, becoming fodder for "Seinfeld," late night stand-up routines and editorials around the country, and you probably remember it. A woman in New Mexico was awarded a judgment of $2.86 million dollars after suing McDonald's because her coffee was too hot. "Isn't coffee supposed to be hot?" seemed to serve as a punchline to numerous jokes, while most just read the headlines in newspapers and assumed it was yet more evidence of a legal system gone out of control. But did you know that the plaintiff, Stella Liebeck, was 79 years old? Did you know that the burns were so severe she required skin grafts? Did you know that she required two years of medical treatment? Did you know that McDonald's had actually been quietly settling out of court for years after numerous, similar complaints? And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Infuriating, shocking, riveting and one of the best legal documentaries we've seen in a long time, Susan Saladoff 's "Hot Coffee" uses Liebeck's lawsuit as a springboard to investigate how the public spin on that case was slowly used to strip the rights of regular citizens, consumers and employees to sue big business.

Sundance '11: Final Acquisitions & The Sundance Promos The Festival Didn't Want You To See

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • February 1, 2011 3:19 AM
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  • 1 Comment
So Sundance is over. Weary buyers are returning home, harried critics are catching up on email and much-needed rest and the sleepy ski resort has finally been freed from the hordes until next year. But there are still a few more loose ends to tie up, including a few more acquisitions that were made as the festival headed to a close.

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