JERRY A. LATHEROW is the president of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association (ITLA), P.O. Box 5000, Springfield, IL 62705, 800-252-8501. The Illinois Trial Lawyers Association is a statewide organization whose members specialize in representing injured consumers and workers. The objectives of ITLA are to secure and protect the rights of those injured in their persons or civil rights and defend trial by jury and the adversarial system of justice.
SOURCE Illinois Trial Lawyers Association:
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 – such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, funded behind the scenes by big tobacco, oil, insurance, pharmaceutical companies, and other such interests – 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. Hot Coffee premiers on HBO Monday, June 27 at 8 PM CDT.
I strongly encourage everyone to take the time to watch this documentary, especially the citizens of Illinois. Our state and its everyday citizens’ are continuously attacked by corporate front groups, such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce – not to be confused with your local Chamber of Commerce who supports local businesses. These attacks are an effort at so-called civil justice “reform.” The U.S. Chamber, among other front groups funded by big tobacco and their sole-minded profit friends, attacks 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.
These front groups even go to the extent to hire marketing firms to taint jury pools before trials, just like they did in Madison County where a large corporation has been accused of contaminating drinking water for thousands of people. Fairness? These groups 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.
The film 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 local listings for times. It will surely be an eye opening experience that will shed light on corporate America’s attempt to modify the American jury trial system and prevent you and your family from getting fair compensation if you are one of their victims.