Documentary film at Sundance festival decries tort system and mandatory arbitration

The anti-consumer arbitration movement is coming to a theatre (and TV screen) near you. HBO just acquired the rights to air, after its Oscar-qualifying theatrical run, the documentary “Hot Coffee,” which premiered at the Sundance Festival in Park City, Utah last week. The documentary tells the story of the woman who obtained a $2.7 million jury verdict against McDonald’s for injuries she sustained when she spilled on herself a hot cup of coffee that the fast-food restaurant served her. The documentary broadens its narrative to how this verdict led consumer corporations to lobby legislatures for caps on jury verdicts, to limit their tort liability. Assailing “big corporate” money’s bad influence on the US tort system, the film includes in its attack consumer services companies’ support of mandatory arbitration clauses in consumer agreements. See coverage of the documentary’s attack on mandatory arbitration here and here.

Disclaimer: I have not seen the documentary, so cannot attest to its content other than through the media coverage. I am interested to see how the film makes the jump from the McDonald’s verdict to mandatory consumer arbitration.

(H.T. to Ed Pekarek for alerting me to the arbitration-related content of this film.)

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