Stella Awards

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 h andy.

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

Go ahead, grab your head scratcher.


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 on a case of
Pepsi and a large bag of dry dog food, he sued the
homeowner's insurance company claiming undue mental

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.


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

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 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.

Uploaded 09/19/2008
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