At the beginning of this movie it seemed crazy that a woman could sue McDonald’s for hot coffee. Later after seeing the burns I thought she had a reasonable case. Stella Liebeck was a lively eighty year old mother, grandmother, and friend. She was able to do almost everything, such as go to the gym with no problems. One day as she was sitting in the passenger seat at a local MacDonald’s, the coffee she had placed between her legs had spilled. The lid came off while she was putting her fixings in it. Stella had serious burns and eventually needed a skin graph. Stella thought it was only right to approach MacDonald’s and ask them to pay for her medical injuries, but they did not accept. This was about the seven-hundredth time someone had called Mcdonald’s about the coffee being too hot. Stella knew if she did not stand up to them then the problem would just keep occurring. Eventually Stella ended up winning the court case for 2.9 million dollars. Many outside people thought this was absolutely absurd but she did not ask for this in the beginning. I believe that what Stella did was not only for herself but also for anyone else who was wrongfully treated by MacDonald’s.
Another case that was presented in this movie was that of Jamie Jones. She was a young woman in desperate need of a job. She went to Halliburton and found a job. She was forced into signing an arbitration contract. Many employers are making these kinds of contracts necessary when hiring their employees. This kind of contract simply states that you cannot sue the company no matter what. Generally the print in the contract is too small to even read. Jamie had no idea that she was going to go through so much hell when she signed this. Halliburton promised Jamie good work in Iraq were she would be boarding with two other females. When she arrived this was far from the truth. She was in an all-male barrack. She asked twice to be removed and placed in the promised living area but nothing was done. A couple days later she waked up drugged and bleeding from her private area. Jamie saw a man underneath her bunk and wondered how he could still be there after raping her, then realized he would just get away with it. Jamie had to undergo reconstructive surgery because she was seriously injured. When she finally returned to the U.S. Halliburton did nothing to compensate her for what had happened. She had to fight four years just for an appearance in court. A few other woman spoke up to her telling her they went through something similar through this company.
There are some frivolous lawsuits out there. Many people sue for stupid reasons just to obtain wealth but these two cases were serious. Many companies now place caps on the amount of money you can receive if you are done wrongfully by them. I think that this is unfair because depending on the situation and damages, you cannot compensate everyone equally. These big corporations are trying to save their butts from pricy lawsuits and often times are not worried about the outcomes the consumers face. Tort laws are these companies’ best friends. They can protect them from certain lawsuits no matter the situation. I think this is unethical because companies must always be accountable for faulty goods and services. As consumers we should be satisfied with the products and services we purchase, if we are unsatisfied something should be done by the company.
I think some easy solutions to these problems would be firstly, for consumer’s only to sue when necessary. We must remember that sometimes the lawsuits are ridiculous and that’s why companies have tort laws now. Companies also must learn that the consumer is always right. Even when they are not, you must treat them as such. I think arbitration contracts should go away all together because they are not helpful to the workers at all.