Medical Exhibits - Demonstrative Evidence Expert Blog - MediVisuals

Hot Coffee: The Documentary - Premiering on HBO on June 27

Posted by Trisha Haszel Kreibich on Tue, Jun 21, 2011

McDonalds Coffee CupEveryone knows the McDonald's Hot Coffee case -- or at least everyone thinks they know about the McDonald's Hot Coffee case. Most of America still does not know the truth. When the case first hit the media, news groups misstated the facts, and television programs joked or performed spoofs about the case. Even "The Oprah Winfrey Show" was guilty of fanning the fire of misconception until they learned of the real facts of the case and, in a later show, recanted what was initially said.

"Hot Coffee The Movie" is a documentary that reveals the truth about the McDonalds Hot Coffee case. It also examines "tort reform" and its threat to our civil justice system by following four people, including the McDonald's Hot Coffee plaintiff, Stella Liebeck, through their struggles in accessing the court system.

The documentary was directed by former trial lawyer and first-time filmmaker Susan Saladoff and has been selected for numerous film festivals, including the prestigious Sundance Film Festival. It has also been awarded "Best Documentary" at the Seattle Film Festival and Tampa Gasparilla Film Festival. The documentary will premiere on HBO on Monday, June 27, at 9:00PM EST as part of their Summer Documentary Series. The trailer can be viewed using the following link:

MediVisuals was proud to support this project by helping raise funds for development of the documentary and by providing images and animations. Some of the facts about the case detailed in the documentary are as follows:
· Over 700 complaints of injuries from hot coffee were filed against McDonalds prior to the one that received so much notoriety

· The plaintiff was not driving the vehicle, nor was it moving when the spill occurred (she was a passenger in a vehicle sitting still in the parking lot)

· The coffee resulted in severe third degree burns in the plaintiff's groin region and thighs (there are very graphic photos of the severe burns)

· The plaintiff had to undergo skin grafting to address the injuries

· The plaintiff initially only requested that McDonalds pay her medical bills

· Because the facts lead the jury to conclude that McDonalds was exceptionally negligent in its behavior, the jury awarded the plaintiff ~$160K in compensatory damages and ~$2.7 million in punitive damages

· The $2.7 million was equivalent to the profits to only 2 days of McDonald's coffee sales

· The judge then reduced the award to $480K so the plaintiff and attorney received very little for their time and effort pursuing justice

For more information on Hot Coffee: The Movie, please visit:

Topics: Stella Liebeck, medical exhibits, mcdonalds case, tort reform, hot coffee, civil justice system, Susan Saladoff