This week, we are covering torts and products liability. These types of suits are a significant concern for any business, and all businesses must understand their legal duties and work to limit potential liability as much as possible.

Over the last decade or so, many states have enacted “tort reform” laws in response to concerns that frivolous lawsuits were out of control and hindering economic growth. One case that become famous as the prime example of frivolous suits was the “McDonald’s Hot Coffee Case.” Many people have heard about the case, in which a woman filed a lawsuit of McDonalds after spilling hot coffee in her lap after going through the McDonald’s drive-thru.

Here is an example of an article discussing the case in the context frivolous lawsuits:

http://abcnews.go.com/TheLaw/story?id=3121086&page=1

On the other hand, some argue that there is more to the case than most people know, and that the case has been unfairly used as the prototype of frivolous cases. In fact, a documentary was made about the movie. Below is a link to the documentary’s website, which includes some FAQs about the case:

http://www.hotcoffeethemovie.com/default.asp?pg=mcdonalds_case

After reviewing the links above, answer the following questions:

(1) Had you heard about the McDonald’s case before now? What were your perceptions about the case?

(2) Did you learn anything new from the FAQs from the documentary’s website? Does this new information impact your original views of the case?

(3) What is your view of the role of tort law–when do you think injured people should be able to pursue lawsuits to recover for their injuries?

(4) Overall, do you think tort litigation is a problem in the United States?

 

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