Monday, December 25, 2006

The Most Frivolous Lawsuits...Stella Awards.

The Stella Awards are named after 81 year-old Stella Liebeck, who spilled
hot coffee on herself and successfully sued McDonald's (in NM). That case
inspired the Stella Awards for the most frivolous, ridiculous, successful
lawsuits in the United States .

Here are this year's winners:
7th Place : Kathleen Robertson of Austin , Texas , was awarded $80,000 by a
jury of her peers after breaking her ankle tripping over a toddler who was
running inside a furniture store. The owners of the store were
understandably surprised at the verdict, considering the misbehaving little
toddler was Ms. Robertson's son.

6th Place : 19-year-old Carl Truman of Los Angeles won $74,000 and medical
expenses when his neighbor ran over his hand with a Honda Accord. Mr.
Truman apparently didn't notice there was someone at the wheel of the car
when he was trying to steal his neighbor's hubcaps.

5th Place : Terrence Dickson of Bristol , Pennsylvania , was leaving a
house he had just finished robbing by way of the garage. He was not able to
get the garage door to go up since the automatic door opener was
malfunctioning. He couldn't re-enter the house because the door connecting
the house and garage locked when he pulled it shut. The family was on
vacation, and Mr. Dickson found himself locked in the garage for eight
days. He subsisted on a case of Pepsi he found, and a large bag of dry dog
food. He sued the homeowner's insurance claiming the situation caused him
undue mental anguish. The jury agreed to the tune of $500,000. In my
opinion this is so outrageous that it should have been 2nd Place!

4th Place : Jerry Williams of Little Rock , Arkansas , was awarded $14,500
and medical expenses after being bitten on the buttocks by his next-door
neighbor's beagle. The beagle was on a chain in its owner's fenced yard.
The award was less than originally sought, because the jury felt the dog
might have been just a little provoked at the time, by Mr. Williams who had
climbed over the fence into the yard and was shooting it repeatedly with a
pellet gun.

3rd Place : A Philadelphia restaurant was ordered to pay Amber Carson of
Lancaster, PA, $113,500 after she slipped on a soft drink and broke her
coccyx (tailbone). The beverage was on the floor because Ms. Carson had
thrown it at her boyfriend 30 seconds earlier during an argument.

2nd Place : Kara Walton of Claymont , Delaware , successfully sued the
owner of a nightclub in a neighboring city when she fell from the bathroom
window to the floor and knocked out her two front teeth. This occurred
while Ms. Walton was trying to sneak through the window in the ladies room
to avoid paying the $3.50 cover charge. She was awarded $12,000 and dental

1st Place : This year's runaway winner was Mrs. Mere Grazinski of Oklahoma
City , Oklahoma . Mrs. Grazinski purchased a brand new 32-foot Winnebago
motor home. On her first trip home (from an OU football game), having
driven onto the freeway, she set the cruise control at 70 mph and calmly
left the drivers seat to go into the back and make herself a sandwich. Not
surprisingly, the RV left the freeway, crashed and overturned. Mrs.
Grazinski sued Winnebago for not advising her in the owner's manual that
she couldn't actually do this. The jury awarded her $1,750,000 plus a new
motor home. The company actually changed their manuals on the basis of this
suit, just in case there were any other complete morons around.