An article currently appearing on Blog Of The Legal Times discusses a documentary film that was made regarding the infamous law suit involving the woman who spilled a cup of McDonald’s coffee on herself, sustained serious third-degree burns to her body and then recovered millions for her injuries in a law suit against McDonald’s based upon the fact that the coffee was too hot. It appears the documentary attempts to explore why the case received so much media attention while also attempting to discredit the notion that this case is a prime example of how citizens have begun to take advantage of America’s legal system. Of course, the article and movie are from a plaintiff’s point of view and essentially hint to the fact that it was the corporate defendants who started the media campaign in an effort to dissuade potential plaintiff’s from having their day in court.
In my opinion, this case received the media attention it did, not because it exemplifies how the American legal system has run amok, but because it highlights a growing notion in this country wherein it is acceptable to throw personal accountability for one’s actions right out of the window. Given the facts of this case, one would think that the plaintiff was at fault, at least in part, for causing her accident. While there was no doubt she was seriously injured, the jury failed to consider the comparative/contributory negligence (or personal accountability) of the plaintiff in causing her accident. Did this verdict reveal the beginnings of the "it couldn’t have been my fault"mentality trickling into the legal system, resulting in jury's failing to hold people accountable for their own negligent