The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico from the British Petroleum platform is a catastrophe of growing proportions. Recent projections that the spill could turn the corner of Florida and cover the beaches of the East Coast bring this disaster uncomfortably close to home. Nobody should make political hay out of a disaster, but we cannot ignore the history lesson before us.
Since the 1990's, there has been a concerted effort to limit the rights of juries to assess full and fair compensation for injured persons. 1 It all started with the infamous McDonalds' hot coffee case, where an elderly woman suffered third degree burns on her genitals when she accidentally spilled a cup of McDonald's coffee in her lap.…