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'Niceguy' Eddie

Political Talk Show Host and Internet Radio Personality. My show, In My Humble Opinion, aired on RainbowRadio from 2015-2017.

Feel free to contact me at niceguy9418@usa.com. You can also friend me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, and Tumblr, and support my Patreon. Also, if you don't mind the stench, you can find my unofficial "fan club" over HERE. ;)


Monday, June 27, 2011

Hot Coffee and Frivolous Lawsuits

I heard an interesting story this morning on NPR about an upcoming documentary called “Hot Coffee.” It documents the facts surrounding a certain “frivolous lawsuit” that I’m sure we’re all familiar with. I’m sure you “know” what I’m talking about: Some lady was driving along, spilled her coffee, got some burns, sued McDonalds and was awarded Millions in a case of “jackpot justice.” There’s only one problem with that:


Some of the FACTS about the case include:

1) She was, in fact, a PASSENGER in a PARKED car.

2) She received THIRD DEGREE BURNS. (Would you put something in your mouth hot enough to cause third degree burns to your LEGS?!)

3) McDonald's required franchises to serve coffee at 180 °F, which can cause  a third-degree burn in under seven seconds.

4)  From 1982 to 1992 the McDonald's had received over 700 reports of people burned by thier coffee, and had settled claims for more than $500,000. (Remember: A big part of tort is that you (a) KNOW about the problem, and (b) DO NOTHING to fix it. This is TEXTBOOK, people!)

5) She was incapacitated and underwent medical treatment for TWO YEARS.

6) In the end, she did not see MILLIONS of dollars - less than $600,000 actually, roughly $160,000 of which was just her own medical expense.

And the following is a FACT, but one who’s importance and relevance is a matter of DEBATE; one for the COURT to decide. (And thus: NOT a point of frivolity):

7) [McDonald’s] handed someone a liquid, that they prepared to a temperature that was hot enough to cause 3rd degree burns, in a container that was not strong enough, or with a lid steady enough, to contain it – the properties of which were specified by McDonalds. Think about that. Would YOU do that?! Not to someone you LIKED! (And remember: Better cup = More $$$!)

Now... I’m going to go out on a limb here, because I haven’t seen the film yet, and recommend that EVERYONE see this. And that you tell your friends about it. Because it brings up broader points about our society, and its system of justice, or the lack thereof. Let me ask you a question…

WHY does “everyone know” so much about this case that is complete bullshit? Why is everyone such an “expert” on this case despite mostly not knowing shit, and going almost entirely on misinformation?

Well… Do you remember that LIBERAL MEDIA we always hear about?

They’re the ones that origionally TOLD THE STORY. They're the one we were getting our fakts (not facts) from.  Sure, they didn’t come right out and SAY it was a “frivolous law suit.” But the fakts presented were done so entirely from McDonald’s point of view.


Do you think that MIGHT have anything to do with the fact that for most of the past half-century, McDonalds was not only one of the largest corporations in the United States, but also one of the single largest sources of TELEVISION ADVIRTISING REVENUE? Think back to when you were a kid. How many times did you see Ronald McDonald on TV? (Mayor McCheese was always my favorite!) But hey: I’m sure the news media wasn’t being biased in their presentation of this story just because the it cast on of their corporate shareholder’s largest sources of income in a bad light. Don’t you agree?

Behold: Your LIBERAL media!

And this was almost a SIXTEEN YEARS AGO! This was 1994!

Do you know what DIDN’T exist in 1994?

The Fox News Channel, the Tea Party, House Speaker Newt Gingrich, President George W. Bush, a Republican Majority in the House, Glenn Beck’s radio program, Sean Hannity’s radio program, Ann Coulter’s bi-weekly column…

Yeah, I’m sure that our media hasn’t leaned any farther to the Right since 1994!

The bigger picture here is that when we complain about these so-called “frivolous lawsuits,” we are in fact promoting corporatism, taking the corporation’s side and voluntarily, even enthusiastically sacrificing our rights. Try reading the fine print on your phone bill or credit card statement some time. Do you see that little bit about “binding arbitration?” Do you know what this means?

It means that if you have any dispute with that company, you agree to binding arbitration where:

1) They pick the venue for the court.

2) They pick the judge.

3) They PAY for the judge.

4) The Judge is not required to provide ANY rational for his ruling. (!!!)


And we sign more and more of this kind of fascist bullshit EVERY SINGLE DAY.

But hey, why should we complain? I mean: It’s not like you HAVE to have a cell phone. Or a credit card.

…or access to the internet.

…or the ability to buy a plane ticket.

…or the ability to rent a car.

…or the ability to build a credit history.

Yeah. That seems like a reasonable trade off: They make a profit. I have no power if they screw me. (Which, of course, NEVER HAPPENS!) And if I exercise my rights to OPT-OUT of having my rights taken away from me…?


And there is simply NO GOOD REASON we need to make that tradeoff!

It time to WAKE UP, America! The next time the media tells you about a “frivolous law suit?” Check to see if it’s against one of their sponsors. Whether or not it’s frivolous is a matter for the COURTS TO DECIDE. And plenty of these just get thrown out. Every day. It is not a matter for the media to decide and to use to influence public opinion on Tort Reform…

…which is just another Right Wing Code Word for taking away more of your rights as people in the name of protecting Corporations from having to PLAY BY THE RULES and OBEY THE LAW.

And remember, WHERE did I hear about this? On NPR: A PUBLIC station that does not rely on corporate sponsorship! Think about THAT the next time some Jack-Hole sends you another Right-Wing e-mail that begins, “Here’s a story the cowards in the main-stream media won’t tell you!” The only stories left untold are the ones the corporate owners and corporate sponsors don’t want you hear, or form your own opinion about.


Such judgments are entirely matters for the COURT to decide for themselves.



  1. I am in dismay. Recently the Supreme Court ruled that a class-action lawsuit by women claiming Walmart discriminated against them was denied, basically saying that the "class" part of "class action" was too widespread to be examined by a court, and must be done on a smaller individual basis.

    Or, as someone put it, "Walmart was too big to sue."

    Now, some business articles I read called this a "defense against frivolous lawsuits" even though the Supreme Court ruling was not based on examining any substance of their case, other than the right for that many people to sue as a class. There's no way to tell what the ruling would have been if they had been allowed to sue.

    But hey, let's call it a "frivolous lawsuit" anyways.

    But so far, that's not even the "dismay" part. That part. is that one individual has a snowball's chance in hell to be able to sue a large corporation. The costs of legal fees would greatly exceed that of the lawsuit's payout.

    So basically, this ruling said that as corporations grow, as long as they preform actions that are subtle and evenly spread enough, they become harder and harder to sue. Size is a defense against lawsuits.

    This is tantamount to a gangster cartel being so large, that the courts decide it'd be impossible for the government to prosecute, and that each victim must press charges individually.

  2. The single biggest problem facign our soceiety and it's ability to govenr itself is this rampant Corporatism and gov't kowtowing to corporate interests. The problem is 100x worse than any church-state issue - and that's coming from one of the biggest "seperation of church & state" people you'll find. But really? I'm starting to think that's just a distraction. Kind of like how pro-religion issues (anti-gay, anti-abortion) are used to keep the Conservtaive middle-class voting against it's own intersts, the SPERATION of Church and State is a distraction made ot keep LIBERALS from focusing on the REAL problem.

    And this is NOT about SOCIALISM! For cripes sake, I'm as much a free-market Liberal as one can be, and that is NOT a contrdiction! It's about having RULES and HOLDING POEPLE ACCOUNTABLE and PROTECTING PEOPLE'S RIGHTS.

    You know: That thing the Right keeps TALKING about but always refuses to DO.

    Show me the candidate who's going to fix that? And s/he's got my vote. Unfortunately, they're probably runnign in some election in Europe or something.

  3. I watched HOT COFFEE Monday night. It's very good. The coffee case is just the hook it uses to get into the larger matter of tort "reform," which has been an issue that has concerned me for 20 years. Practically nothing its advocates say about the present tort system has anything to do with reality, and that's consistently been the case since the issue was raised during the Bush Sr. administration (and it goes back further than that--the movie shows Reagan pimping for it with a bullsh!t anecdote of the breed that has always driven the issue).

    You're quite correct about government acting as an agent of, broadly speaking, Big Money. This isn't just an important issue--it's the only issue. The kind of lesser--often manufactured--"issues" over which we spend a disproportionate amount of our time arguing are deployed for that very purpose; to keep us divided and arguing over things that don't affect those with the money and power. I've argued that point over the years until I'm blue in the face, and I'm far from alone (check out a book called "What's the Matter With Kansas?" for another example of someone who gets it).

    It should be pretty obvious that it's impossible to organize a functioning society around whatever makes the biggest short-term profit for GM or Exxon/Mobil, yet that's what our government is forever trying to do, and, while people are instinctively opposed to this, they don't seem to grasp the scale of it. No one bothers to tell them.

    Consider this: the U.S. tax code offers all manner of incentives for businesses to close their operations in the U.S. and export U.S. jobs to foreign shores. This is incredibly stupid in normal times. With the unemployment situation being what it has been for a few years, now, it should be a major scandal, but it isn't, because the press won't make it one. Last year, congressional Democrats tried to pass a bill aimed at eliminating some of those incentives; it would have also offered incentives to offshoring companies to bring jobs back to the U.S. Opposition to such a bill wouldn't poll out of single digits in the reddest state in the U.S., yet the whole thing was killed because the Obama, while saying he supported it, refused to do anything to secure its passage, and Senate Republicans lockstepped against it, killing it as they've killed nearly everything in recent years. This should have been a HUGE scandal. Instead, very few people even know the bill ever existed. The corporate press wouldn't report it, and it died in virtual anonymity (and Republicans went on to win the House a few weeks later). Republican opposition to eliminating some little part of the oil subsidy got a lot more press this last time around (though it was as anonymous as the anti-offshoring bill the previous half-dozen times), but, again, with gas prices as they are, it should have been a major scandal, hammered on every day, and it just wasn't. We're being made to pay to destroy our own society in the name of increasing the short-term profits of Big Money, and it's barely even a blip on the radar.

    Liberals understand these things, but they're not allowed much of a public platform. Meanwhile, we have an enormous population of Bubble People on the right who aggressively tune out reality. I've just spent several weeks over at Newsbusters (the blog of the Media Research Center). It's definitely a Bubble People hang-out, and my experiences there (I'm writing about them on my own blog) have confirmed to me that conditions inside the Bubble are just as bad as I've always said.