COVID-19 Notice: We are providing FREE consultations via phone or video conferencing for your safety and convenience. Learn More »
Published on:

Abnormal Use and Stella Liebeck

This from Abnormal Use:

The sinister suggestion that major corporations have conspired to use the Stella Liebeck McDonald’s hot coffee case as a tool to promote tort reform is odd, although film maker Susan Saladoff and her pals at The Pop Tort seem to believe that business interests have spent millions in an effort to make the Plaintiff Stella Liebeck the poster plaintiff for tort reform. That’s one of the themes of Saladoff’s Hot Coffee documentary, which we reviewed yesterday. However, there really isn’t any evidence to prove such a corporate scheme, although as always, the absence of evidence of a conspiracy serves to confirm its existence in some eyes.

Well, I see your sigh and I raise you three sighs. I don’t know exactly what Abnormal Use is doing here. It is a relative of making up a strawman. But it is not exactly OliverStoneLand to suggest that the tort reform movement funded by corporate America (who else would pay for it?) used a verdict that upset people to their advantage. Why would they engage in such a conspiracy? Because they would be idiots if they didn’t. There is nothing “sinister” about it. It would be “tort reform malpractice” not to do so.

I remember a hospital in Rhode Island performed brain surgery on the wrong side of the brain three times in one year a while back (here, I Googled it). If a bunch of trial lawyer lobbyists were not sitting in a dark room somewhere drinking cognac trying to figure out how to exploit that, they should all be fired.

Everyone tries to use facts that support their argument to their advantage. You do this on tort reform, politics, and when arguing if Mays as better than Mantle. It is the way of things, the way of humans.

The post gets even sillier, pretending that the trial transcript can only be released by the plaintiffs’ lawyers. This argument is so strained it does not really deserve a response. But when this obvious fact is pointed out to him in the comments, the author responds:

Typically, that is true, but 17-year-old trial transcripts are usually no longer in existence. Besides, if the Plaintiff’s bar is clamoring for the “truth” about the case to be revealed, why not simply post it online for all to see? Why force the public to pay for the release of the transcript when you are trying to educate the public about what is in the transcript?

Force the public to pay to release the transcript? Are you kidding me? This comment fits in with the post: good lines that don’t fit the facts. (And how do you talk about this by ignoring the white elephant in the room? I’m sure McDonald’s has a transcript lying around.)

I read Abnormal Use even though I disagree with them because this author and some of the others are smart and funny and the writing is good. I like smart and funny about issues I’m familiar with even when I don’t share their viewpoint. But this whole post seems to be an argument with facts that don’t fit shoved in as an afterthought.