Nearly 200 people attended a free premiere screening at The Garde Arts Center in New London on June 3, 2012 of the award-winning documentary “Hot Coffee.” The event was hosted by The Reardon Law Firm, PC and the Chamber of Commerce – Eastern Connecticut. Following the film and remarks by the writer and filmmaker, Susan Saladoff, attendees enjoyed a lively debate about tort reform in America. The panel included Saladoff, along with Attorney Bob Reardon of The Reardon Law Firm, Chamber of Commerce – Eastern Connecticut President Thomas “Tony” Sheridan, Attorney Thomas Gerarde of Howd & Ludorf, Day reporter Karen Florin and Gary Farrugia, Publisher of The Day Newspaper as moderator.
The subject of this powerful film is the infamous McDonald’s hot coffee case, perhaps one of the most well known and misunderstood cases in the world. For more than 15 years, the McDonald’s case has continued to be cited as a prime example of how citizens use “frivolous” lawsuits to take unfair advantage of America’s legal system. First time filmmaker and former public interest lawyer Susan Saladoff uses the infamous legal battle that began with a spilled cup of coffee to investigate what’s behind America’s zeal for tort reform by following four people whose lives were devastated by the attacks on our courts. This thought-provoking documentary challenges the assumptions Americans hold about “jackpot justice.”
Producer/Director Susan Saladoff spent 25 years practicing law in the civil justice system, representing injured victims of individual and corporate negligence. She stopped practicing law in 2009 to make the documentary HOT COFFEE, her first feature-length film, which premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival and had its broadcast premiere on HBO in June of 2011. HOT COFFEE and Susan have received many awards since the film’s debut, including the Grand Jury Prize Best Documentary 2011 Seattle International Film Festival, Best Documentary at the Tampa and Albuquerque Film Festivals, and the award for the Documentary that Every American Should See 2011 Traverse City Film Fest (Michael Moore’s Film Festival). Most recently, HOT COFFEE received a 2012 TV Academy Honors award given by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (which gives the Emmy Awards) celebrating “Television with a Conscience” – for shows that inspire, inform, motivate and even have the power to change lives.