Attorney, “Hot Coffee” Documentary Director to Stir Conversation on Civil Justice at 2018 Peter Chase Neumann Lecture

Feb. 22, 2018

Attorney and filmmaker of the HBO documentary “Hot Coffee” Susan Saladoff will deliver this year’s Peter Chase Neumann Lecture on Civil Justice at the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law. 

Saladoff will share her journey of making the film, how it was received, and what has happened since it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2011.

In “Hot Coffee,” Saladoff, who wrote, produced and directed the film, tells the story of the infamous lawsuit brought by a McDonald’s customer who suffered third-degree burns when a cup of hot coffee spilled in her lap. The case drew massive media attention and was often used in the calls to reform the court system and eliminate “frivolous lawsuits.”

But that’s not the full story.

Saladoff outlines the case in detail and uses the legal battle as a springboard into understanding our civil justice system. By following four people whose lives were altered by the larger tort reform campaign, the film challenges the assumptions Americans hold about “jackpot justice.”

 A viewing of the documentary will be held earlier in the day, with lunch provided. Details below.

When: Thursday, March 15, 2018. Documentary screening and lunch: 12-1:30 p.m. Lecture 5-6 p.m.

Where: The University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law, 1201 E. Speedway Blvd., lunch in room 160, lecture in room 164 (Ares Auditorium). Campus map:

Who may attend: Both events are free and open to the public. Register to attend the documentary screening and lunch here. RSVP for the lecture here.

About Susan Saladoff
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 2011.

The Washington Post called the film a “stunning debut” and added that the film “sends audiences out of the theater thinking in a brand new way.” The Hollywood Reporter called the film “entertaining, informative,” and “vividly illuminating.”

About the Peter Chase Neumann Lecture
The Peter Chase Neumann Lecture on Civil Justice is part of Arizona Law's Civil Justice Initiative, which seeks to elevate the American civil justice system and train the next generation of great trial lawyers.

The lecture series began in 2013, with past speakers including Thomas Girardi, Patrick J. McGroder, Richard Fried and Randi McGinn. University of Arizona Law alumnus Peter Chase Neumann (’64) endowed the lecture in 2016.