Susan Saladoff

  • Aired:  10/25/11
  •  | Views: 43,006

Documentarian Susan Saladoff explores how the media and corporate America manipulated the public into believing the civil justice system is broken. (5:45)

>> STEPHEN: THANK YOU VERY

MUCH.

MY GUEST TONIGHT IS A FORMER

ATTORNEY AND DIRECTOR OF "HOT

COFFEE," A DOCUMENTARY ABOUT

FRIVOLOUS LAWSUITS.

I'M WILLING TO SETTLE THIS

INTERVIEW OUT OF STUDIO FOR FIVE

MILLION DOLLARS.

PLEASE WELCOME SUSAN SALADOFF!

[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]

HAY, MS. SALADOFF NICE TO MEET

YOU.

LET'S GET DOWN TO THE NITTY

GRITTY YOU ARE A FORMER

PLAINTIFF'S ATTORNEY?

I AM.

>> WHO MADE A DOCUMENTARY

AVAILABLE ON HBO GO AND DVD

NOVEMBER 1.

IT'S TALKING ABOUT FRIVOLOUS

LAWSUITS.

>> IT'S TALKING ABOUT THE MYTH

OF A FRIVOLOUS LAWSUIT.

>> STEPHEN: THERE ARE

FRIVOLOUS LAWSUITS GO AHEAD.

>> WHAT INJURE DEFINITION.

IT'S NEVER YOUR CASE THAT IS

FRIVOLOUS.

>> STEPHEN: I'M A REASONABLE

GUY.

HOW ABOUT THE JUDGE WHO SUED FOR

$65 MILLION BECAUSE A DRY

CLEANER LOST HIS PANTS IS THAT

FRIVOLOUS.

>>?

THAT ONE MIGHT BE FRIVOLOUS,

YEAH.

>> STEPHEN: THANK YOU FOR

COMING BY.

SUSAN, EVERYBODY.

WE'LL BE RIGHT BACK.

>> THE THING ABOUT THAT HE

DIDN'T FIND A LAWYER.

WAS A LAWYER AND REPRESENTED

HIMSELF.

HE WOULDN'T FIND A LAWYER TO

REPRESENT HIM STOONCHTS WE NEED

TO MAKE LAWYERS ILLEGAL.

>> THE SYSTEM WORKS.

IF YOU FILE A CASE THAT IS NOT

MERITORIOUS.

A JUDGE IS GOING TO THREE IT OUT

OR YOU'LL GET FIND.

THERE ARE 12 PEOPLE SITTING ON A

JURY.

THEY ARE NOT GOING TO GIVE YOU

MONEY FOR A FRIVOLOUS LAWSUIT

AND EVEN IF HE THEY WERE, THE

JUDGES CAN REDUCE IT.

THERE ARE VERY FEW FRIF LUS

LAWSUITS.

THERE'S A MYTH ABOUT THAT

>> STEPHEN: IT'S A BIG MYTH.

WHAT A TORT?

>> IT'S INTERESTING.

THE CANDIDATES ARE TALKING ABOUT

TORT REFORM WHEN MOST PEOPLE

DON'T KNOW WHAT IT MEANS.

A TORT SAY CIVIL HARM.

WHEN SOMEONE IS HURT AND YOU CAN

BRING A CASE IN THE CIVIL COURT

THAT IS CALLED A TORT WHERE THEY

CAN GET DAMAGESES FOR WHAT

HAPPENED TO THEM.

>> STEPHEN: AND WHAT IS

REFORM?

>> WELL, YEAH.

SO MOST PEOPLE THINK REFORM IS A

GOOD THING.

>> STEPHEN: IT IS A GOOD

THING.

>> UNTIL IT HAPPENS TO YOU UNTIL

YOU REALIZE SOMETHING BAD

HAPPENS TO YOU OR A FAMILY

MEMBER AND YOU DON'T HAVE ACCESS

TO THE COURTS ANYMORE AND YOU

CAN'T HOLD A WRONGDOER

ACCOUNTABLE, THEN YOU REALIZE

IT'S GOOD FOR CORPORATIONS AND

THOSE WHO MAKE PRODUCTS THAT

HARM US BUT NOT GOOD FOR AVERAGE

CITIZENS.

>> STEPHEN: LET'S TALK ABOUT

THE FAMOUS CASE THAT GIVES YOU

THE TITLE OF DOCUMENTARY HERE.

HOT COFFEE.

THE OLD LADY WHO ORDERED A HOT

COFFEE FROM McDONALDS, RIGHT?

THEN SHE GOES OUT TO HER CAR AND

DECIDES TO DO DOUGHNUTS ON THE

GRASS?

AND POURS THE COFFEE ON THE LAP

AND SIEWZ.

>> THAT CASE HAS BEEN CITED AS

SORT OF POSTER CHILD FOR WHAT IS

WRONG WITH THE CIVIL JUSTICE

SYSTEM.

MOST PEOPLE HAVE THE FACTS

COMPLETELY WRONG.

WHEN THEY SEE THE FILM HOT

COFFEE THEY REALIZE THEY'VE BEEN

MANIPULATED BY THE MEDIA AND

CORPORATE AMERICA TO BELIEVE

THAT THE SYSTEM IS BRECKEN.

>> STEPHEN: WHY ISN'T THAT A

CRAZY SUIT.

COFFEE IS HOT.

>> WHEN YOU SPILL COFFEE ON

YOURSELF WE DON'T EXPECT NEED

SURGERY AND GRAFTING BECAUSE THE

COFFEE WAS SO HOT AND

McDONALDS KNEW NO ONE COULD

DRINK IT AT THAT TEMPERATURE IT

WOULD CAUSE THIRD DEGREE BURNS.

MRS. LEEBECK, BY THE WAY, 79

YEARS OLD, NEVER BROUGHT A

LAWSUIT A DAY IN HER LIFE.

ALL SHE WANTED WAS THE

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WHEN HER

MEDICAL BILLS WERE AND WHAT

MEDICARE PAID.

McDONALDS OFFERED $800 AND

NEVER ANOTHER PENNY.

SHE WENT TOLL TRIAL.

THE VERDICT, IT WAS TWO DAYS OF

COFFEE SALES OF McDONALDS AND

THEN THE JUDGE REDUCED IT AND

THEY WOUND UP SETTLING FOR A

SMALLER AMOUNT BUT NOBODY KNOWS

THAT BECAUSE SHE WAS SUBJECT TO

A GAG ORDER BUT McDONALDS

WASN'T.

>> STEPHEN: WHY COULD THEY

TALK ABOUT IT?

>> WHEN YOU SET THE CASES?

THE PERSON WHO IS INJURED AND

RECEIVED MONEY THEY ARE SILENT

BUT THE CORPORATIONS THEY ARE

NOT.

THEY PUT OUT THIS MESSAGE OVER

AND OVER AGAIN ABOUT HOW THEY

ARE THEREARE CRAZY LAWSUITS

BECAUSE THEY WANT PEOPLE TO

THINK THAT THE SYSTEM IS BROKEN

BECAUSE IF PEOPLE THINK THE

SYSTEM IS BROKEN, THEN THEY ARE

WILLING TO REFORM IT OR CHANGE

IT WHICH ONLY GIVES CORPORATIONS

MORE MONEY.

>> STEPHEN: CORPORATIONS NEED

THE MONEY BECAUSE THEY ARE JOB

CREATORS.

[ LAUGHTER ]

>> YEAH.

>> STEPHEN: THANK YOU.

HOW CAN CORPORATIONS BE PUT ON

TRIAL BECAUSE ISN'T A TRIAL

SUPPOSED TO HAVE A JURY OF YOUR

SPEARS?

>> YEAH.

>> STEPHEN: THEN A CORPORATION

WOULD NEED 12 OTHER DORP RACES

JUDGING THEM.

McDONALDS HAS TO BE JUDGED BY

JACK IN THE BOX AND BURGER AND

PIZZA HUT.

>> YOU KNOW WHAT IS INTERESTING

ABOUT THE JURY OUR PEERS?

THE 7th AMENDMENT TO THE

CONSTITUTION IS TRIAL BY JURY.

NOBODY EVERY REMEMBERS THE 7th

AMENDMENT THEY REMEMBER THE 2ND

AMENDMENT BUT IT'S A

CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO HAVE

TRIAL BY JURY.

THAT RIGHT IS TAKEN AWAY FROM US

BY TAX ON DAMAGES, BY THESE

ARBITRATION CLAUSES, BY ALL OF

THIS SO-CALL TORT REFORM WHICH

IS -- SHOULD BE CALLED TORT

DEFORM.

IT'S NOT GOOD FOR ANYBODY.

IT TAKES AWAY CONSTITUTIONAL

RIGHTS.

WHAT WE NEED IS TO TAKE BACK OUR

RIGHTS AND HAVE ACCESS TO THE

COURTS SO THAT WE CAN HOLD

WRONGDOUGHERS ACCOUNTABLE.

[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]

-- WRONG DOERS ACCOUNTABLE.

>> STEPHEN: THANK FOR

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