Stella Awards (as reported on the internet)
It's time again for the annual 'Stella Awards'! For those
unfamiliar with these awards, they are named after 81-year-old Stella
Liebeck who spilled hot coffee on herself and successfully sued the
McDonald's in New Mexico , where she purchased coffee. You remember,
she took the lid off the coffee and put it between her knees while she
was driving. Who would ever think one could get burned doing
that, right? That' s right; these are awards for the most outlandish
lawsuits and verdicts in the U.S. You know, the kinds of cases that
make you scratch your head. So keep your head scratcher handy.
Here are the Stellas for the past year: (2009)
Kathleen Robertson of Austin, Texas was awarded $80,000 byÂ a
jury of her peers after breaking her ankle tripping over a toddler who
was running inside a furniture store. The store owners were
understandably surprised by the verdict, considering the running
toddler was her own son.
Carl Truman, 19, of Los Angeles , California won $74,000 plus medical
expenses when his neighbor ran over his hand with a Honda Accord.
Truman apparently didn't notice there was someone at the wheel of the
car when he was trying to steal his neighbor's hubcaps.
Terrence Dickson, of Bristol , Pennsylvania , who was leaving a house
he had just burglarized by way of the garage. Unfortunately for
Dickson, the automatic garage door opener malfunctioned and he could
not get the garage door to open. Worse, he couldn't re-enter the house
because the door connecting the garage to the house locked when Dickson
pulled it shut. Forced to sit for eight, count 'em, EIGHT days and
survive on a case of Pepsi and a large bag of dry dog food, he sued the
homeowner's insurance Â company claiming undue mental Anguish.
Amazingly, the jury said the insurance company must pay Dickson
$500,000 for his anguish. We should all have this kind of
anguish. Keep scratching. There are more.....
Jerry Williams, of Little Rock, Arkansas, garnered 4th Place in the
Stella's when he was awarded $14,500 plus medical expenses after being
bitten on the butt by his next door neighbor's beagle - even though the
beagle was on a chain in its owner's fenced yard. Williams did not get
as much as he asked for because the jury believed the beagle might have
been provoked at the time of the butt bite because Williams had climbed
over the fence into the yard and repeatedly shot the dog with a pellet
Amber Carson of Lancaster, Pennsylvania because a jury ordered a
Philadelphia restaurant to pay her $113,500 after she slipped on a
spilled soft drink and broke her tailbone.. The reason the soft drink
was on the floor: Ms. Carson had thrown it at her boyfriend 30 seconds
earlier during an argument. What ever happened to people being
responsible for their own actions?
Kara Walton, of Claymont , Delaware sued the owner of a night club in a
nearby city because she fell from the bathroom window to the floor,
knocking out her two front teeth. Even though Ms. Walton was trying to
sneak through the ladies room window to avoid paying the $3.50 cover
charge, the jury said the night club had to pay her $12,000....oh,
yeah, plus dental expenses. Go figure.
This year's runaway First Place Stella Award winner was: Mrs.
Marv Grazinski, of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, who purchased new 32-foot
Winnebago motor home. On her first trip home, from an OU football game,
having driven on to the freeway, she set the cruise control at 70 mph
and calmly left the driver's seat to go to the back of the Winnebago to
make herself a sandwich. Not surprisingly, the motor home left the
freeway, crashed and overturned. Also not surprisingly, Mrs. Grazinski
sued Winnebago for not putting in the owner's manual that she couldn't
actually leave the driver's seat while the cruise control was set. The
Oklahoma jury awarded her, are you sitting down?
$1,750,000 PLUS a new motor home. Winnebago actually changed their
manuals as a result of this suit, just in case Mrs. Grazinski has any
relatives who might also buy a motor home.