An Open Letter to "Joe Consumer" of The Pop Tort blog

Dear Mr. Joe Consumer,

As relatively new legal bloggers, we can attest that few things bring as much gratification as the acknowledgment that our work is being read by our distinguished colleagues. Imagine our excitement here at Abnormal Use upon learning that you, a contributor to The Pop Tort legal blog, not only read last week’s Hot Coffee post, but took time away from your fight against dirty corporate disinformation campaigns to write your own retort. As you may know, we were pleased to present some basic background facts regarding the new Hot Coffee documentary and the ties of its producer Susan Saladoff to the Plaintiffs’ bar. We’re elated to engage in further dialogue about the film and the issues it presents with you, a writer at blog we’ve read for years. We think that additional discussion on the film, and the infamous Stella Liebeck McDonald’s hot coffee litigation, is truly a boon to public discourse. So, today, we write this thank you note.

Thank you, Mr. Consumer. We owe you much, for your reply provided us with an opportunity to engage in a bit of soul searching and introspection. In the circles in which you travel, you may have heard the vicious rumors that we defense attorneys are soulless, but this is simply not true.

So, thank you for pointing out our corporate bias. We suspect that The Pop Tort, a project of the Center for Justice and Democracy, would never attempt to inject its own ideological agenda into its film commentary – especially a film in which its founder and executive director appeared.

Thank you also for alerting the blogosphere that we have not yet seen the Hot Coffee documentary. We agree that the plainly evident disclaimer of that fact we placed in our original piece may not have been apparent to readers. Despite the fact that we made no representations that we saw the film, it is easy to see how our readers would think we were presenting an actual review of the documentary and not a commentary on the filmmaking team’s potential agenda.

Thank you also for citing to actual Hot Coffee reviews from more “responsible” film critics. Fortunately, you located non-lawyer reviewers untainted by a legal education and the perils of the legal profession. By mentioning only the fact that the filmmaker is an attorney (and omitting any reference to her long career suing large corporations), these reviewers offered truly objective reviews based on the facts as told by Saladoff without referencing other pesky info and context.

Thank you also for halting our “dirty corporate disinformation.” Shame on us for presenting the information in our accompanying FAQ file taken directly from such unreliable sources as pleadings, deposition transcripts, and contemporary news accounts of the case. Shame on us for giving anyone the impression that coffee is best served at McDonald’s temperatures. Shame on us for becoming so caught up in the facts that we neglected to see your truth. After all, as the old writer once said, “[f]acts and truth really don’t have much to do with each other.”

Thank you for putting a stop to our attempt to relitigate the original Stella Liebeck lawsuit. Apparently, we momentarily forgot the well-established principle that once a court or jury renders its decision, all criticism must end. We momentarily forgot that no one wants to hear the losers “whining” about how the case should have been decided. Certainly, our friends at The Pop Tort would never commit such a horrible offense. The winners win the day, and they must be protected from those looking to revise history. Please forgive us this transgression.

Most of all, in light of our errors in judgment, we appreciate that you did not mention our blog’s name or our writer Nick Farr’s name in your post. We would hate for our reputations to be further sullied by last week’s abomination. If only the etiquette of the blogosphere would allow us to remove our original post from the Internet permanently! We remain crestfallen.

Finally, Mr. “Joe Consumer,” we must commend you on your own staid personal transparency and straight-forward, no-nonsense approach to legal commentary. You are an example to us all.


Abnormal Use


  1. Pingback: February 13 roundup