ITLA President: Watch Hot Coffee

Jerry A. Latherow Jun. 28, 2011, 10:57am

We've all heard of the McDonald's coffee case - the one where the elderly woman spilled coffee in her lap and sued McDonald's for millions and won. This case happened nearly 20 years ago, but it's still the butt of jokes and used as an example of how Americans supposedly take advantage of our legal system. It is the very case that tort reformers across the country refer to when making their case for civil justice "reform."

A new documentary, Hot Coffee, reviews this infamous case and investigates why special interest groups want to undermine our civil justice system and restrict the legal rights of all Americans to exercise their constitutional guaranteed right to trial by jury and to receive fair and reasonable compensation for when they have been wronged.

Corporate front groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the American Tort Reform Association and smaller state groups, such as the Illinois Civil Justice League and Illinois Lawsuit Abuse Watch, are funded behind the scenes by big tobacco, oil, insurance, pharmaceutical companies, and other such interests. They all have the same intentions – to dismantle your civil justice system and take away your constitutional rights. This documentary will uncover why these groups are spending millions on public relations campaigns to spread myths about frivolous lawsuits in an attempt to scare you and me into giving up our rights.

I strongly encourage everyone to take the time to watch this documentary, especially the citizens of Illinois. Our state and its everyday citizens' rights are continuously attacked by these front groups. These attacks are an effort at so-called civil justice "reform." The U.S. Chamber of Commerce - not to be confused with your local Chamber of Commerce who supports local businesses – and the smaller state groups attack various judiciaries in Illinois giving certain counties false labels, such as "judicial hellhole." They throw around buzz words such as "jackpot justice" and "frivolous lawsuits." Their goal? To get citizens of Illinois to believe our justice system is being manipulated for profit. When in fact it is being manipulated for profit, by the powerful behind-the-scenes groups that fund the U.S. Chamber and their smaller state affiliates.

These groups have recently attempted to tip the scales of justice in their favor here in Madison County. One corporate giant even went to the extent to hire a marketing firm to taint the jury pool in an effort to evade accountability. This large corporation has been accused of contaminating drinking water for thousands of people and doesn't want to be held liable for the damages they've done to these innocent victims. Does this sound fair?

These corporate special interests don't want fairness and they will continue to fight to increase their profits and excessive executive salaries, all at a cost to you and your family.

Their goal is to strip you and me of our constitutional rights to fair and reasonable compensation when we are injured by corporate recklessness.

Hot Coffee will also examine the impact of corporate America on our judicial elections and how millions of dollars are spent to elect judges who are sympathetic to business interests.

Please be sure to watch Hot Coffee on HBO. The documentary will be airing throughout June and July on HBO. Check your local listings for times. It will surely be an eye opening experience that will shed light on corporate America's attempt to change the American jury trial system and prevent you and your family from getting fair compensation if you are one of their victims.

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