Impressions of the U.S. Courts system

Our knowledge and impressions of the U.S. Courts system have been greatly affected by the knowledge we have received from news outlets, media articles, television and word of mouth from our peers. In many instances we have received information that frivolous cases are regularly being filed in the courts. During Week 7 we will examine challenges modern courts are facing. One of the challenges we will read about in our text is the overburdening of court dockets.

This can be caused by a lack of funding, lack of resources, lack of employees and/or judges, as well as the filing of frivolous cases. However, not all cases filed in the courts are frivolous. These modern challenges can also influence the public’s access to justice to seek remedy for wrongs encountered in many aspects of our lives. In further examination of these issues, we will watch the award-winning documentary, Hot Coffee. It is a documentary about the McDonald’s coffee case, access to justice, tort reform and judicial elections. You may watch the movie for free here: (Transcript for those in need of CC available here). You may also find the movie for free, to rent or purchase on various web sources, such as on Amazon Prime, iTunes, Hulu, Vudu, Netflix, YouTube, Google Play, HBO Go, etc. Like many movies, it rotates around on various streaming services, so be sure to check any you may have. Then, after watching the movie you will write a 3-4-page paper in which you must answer all of the below questions supported by further research. First, briefly summarize the movie. What were your thoughts on the movie? What is tort reform? Do you agree or disagree with tort reform? Does your home state have any types of tort reform enacted? What are some of the challenges a Plaintiff faces in filing a civil action for damages against a large corporation? What are the pros and cons of judicial elections? Are the judges in your home state appointed or elected? How does one become a state judge in your home state? You should conduct research and use academic sources to support your statements. Research should come from academic sources such as case law, statutes and law review articles in Nexis Uni, articles in the APUS Library (Summon), newspaper articles, federal/state government websites, court websites, and academic studies containing statistics. You may also do research at your local library, museums or conduct interviews of those in the field of courts. Non-academic websites, such as Wikipedia or advertising blogs, such as FindLaw, may not be used. Formatting: Your paper is required to be double spaced in Times New Roman 12pt font, with 1” margins on each side. No title page is needed. Please place your name, student ID and date at the top of the paper. Citations should be in APA or Bluebook format. If you are a major in the Legal Studies Department, you are required to utilize Bluebook footnotes using the ‘insert footnote’ feature in Word. However, no reference list is needed. If you are a major that is not in the Legal Studies Department, you may use APA citations; however, you must include a reference list at the end of your paper.

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