Wednesday, April 09, 2008


Just makes you shake your head!!

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 the 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 Stella’s for the past year:


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 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 hub caps.

Go ahead, grab your head scratcher.


Terrence Dickson, of Bristol, Pennsylvania, 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 on a case of Pepsi
and a large bag of dry dog food, he sued the homeowner’s insurance 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 gun.

Grrrrr … Scratch, scratch.


Third place goes to 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 ?

Scratch, scratch, scratch. Hang in there; there are
only two more Stellas to go…


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.

1ST PLACE: (May I have a fanfare played on 50
kazoos please?)

This year’s runaway First Place Stella Award winner
was Mrs. Merv Grazinski, of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, who purchased a 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 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.

Are we, as a society, getting more stupid…????

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