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Michael Lewis
Michael Lewis
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McDonald’s, Hot Coffee and What You Need to Know, Part III

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Now that Hot Coffee has been aired by HBO for the past several weeks, it’s time to take another look and see what it really means.
Not surprisingly, the insurance industry and big business have done their best to attack it and portray the documentary as lawyer propaganda. And many of those who criticize our civil system and seek to make drastic changes are the same ones who profess to value personal responsibility and protection of our constitutional rights.
What Hot Coffee demonstrates quite effectively is how these so-called "tort-reformers" have lost their way. Our civil justice system is unquestionably the best in the world, in spite of some imperfections.
And what has always made it great, from the time our forefathers established the critical importance of trial by jury, was the insistence that people who have been harmed have the right to a day in court before a jury of their peers.
No matter how powerful the defendant, a jury of ordinary folks would be trusted to decide whether or not the injured party was entitled to compensation.
Yet today, the rich and powerful continue to chip away at valuable and important rights from not only the "little guy" but all individuals, rights that most folks know little about or appreciate until they are needed but have disappeared.
Take heed: virtually every day, an appellate court or legislative body is taking away the right of an injured person to recover for the harm he or she has suffered. Hot Coffee gives a clear picture of how this is happening.
It’s time all of us who truly value what a jury trial means to our freedom to "wake up and smell the coffee."