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Chamber of commerce, insurance industry attack HBO documentary Hot Coffee

May 30, 2012 by Steven M. Gursten

Inaccurate rebuttal will only bring more attention to how the Chamber is working to undermine the independence of our civil justice system

I’ve written about the HBO documentary Hot Coffee in the past. Hot Coffee is a documentary about the true facts behind the infamous McDonald’s coffee case, but it’s also much more.

Hot Coffee helps viewers understand the dangers behind forced arbitration and what happens to real people because of unfair pain and suffering compensation damages caps. It addresses the dangers that arise when insurance companies and deep-pocketed special interest groups interfere with our civil justice and judicial system and attempt to buy judicial elections. This movie, produced and directed by Susan Saladoff, aims to really change the way people think about our civil justice system and our access to the courts. Both are under attack today, and it is a very important documentary.

While Hot Coffee makes these four important issues understandable and accessible, the underlying message that our justice system is being exploited by insurance companies and the US Chambers of Commerce needs to be emphasized. These groups have worked to create fake “tort reform” movements and are trying to prevent injured accident victims access to our civil justice system.

Well, the insurance companies and chamber of commerce are at it again.

If you Google “Hot Coffee,” you will now find a yellow highlighted paid ad link to www.hotcoffeetruth.com above the organic search results. This site is composed of information from a paid, three-member panel and a law professor moderator rebutting the main points of the movie.

And these people are obviously hired guns.

If you look at the fine print at the bottom of the site, you will see that the “project” is sponsored by Public Affairs Office of US Chamber Institute for Legal Reform. To put this much time, money and effort into rebutting Hot Coffee, it seems the US Chamber’s folks must believe the Hot Coffee documentary has legs (it clearly does).

Ironically, by pushing their inaccurate agenda, all the Chamber is doing is bringing more attention to this great documentary. Many people have seen this movie. But the Chamber ads will reach countless people who hadn’t considered seeing the movie, but now will.

I’d like to share a witty, yet thoughtful response from The Pop Tort blog, which is a project from consumer advocates at the Center for Justice and Democracy: Hot Coffee Flap.

Steve Gursten is a personal injury lawyer and head of Michigan Auto Law. Steve is president of the Motor Vehicle Trial Lawyers Association. He frequently writes and speaks on tort reform, auto accident law and the civil justice system, and is available for comment.

– Photo courtesy of Creative Commons, by derychk

Related Information:

Tort “reform”: A failed experiment in legal-social engineering

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