The Stella Awards

gardenbug(Canada zone 5)December 21, 2009

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 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.

Start scratching!


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.

Scratch some more...


Goes to 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 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.

Double hand scratching after this one..


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.

Pick a new spot to scratch, you're getting a bald spot..


Amber Carson of Lancaster, Pennsylvania wins, 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?

Only two more, so ease up on the scratching....


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.

OK. Here we go!!!!!


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.

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cyn427 (zone 7)

I'm suing GW for my loss of hair resulting in a bald spot due to the scratching-which I was only doing because I was told to do so in the post they allowed to be published!

    Bookmark   December 21, 2009 at 6:05PM
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    Bookmark   December 21, 2009 at 6:51PM
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    Bookmark   December 21, 2009 at 9:22PM
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Those are incredible, each one more outrageous than the last!

    Bookmark   December 21, 2009 at 9:56PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

My brother's all-time favorite like this was a father&son team who were going to
steal the catenary wire from the Long Island Railroad. These wires are
energized to 11,000 volts with 1,500 ampere circuit breakers. (Home
wiring is 110 volts with 15 ampere circuit breakers.) These two
knuckleheads used aluminum ladders to cut down the wire. They figured
the power was off because the employees of the railroad were on strike.
But it was not off. They climbed a very tall chain-link fence with
barbed wire at the top of it to accomplish their task. They got very
badly fried, but miraculously did not get killed.

When they got out of the hospital, they sued the railroad. The RR's
defense was that the railroad was fenced in and that signs were posted
every 50 feet (or something like that) warning of the danger.

The judge asked if the signs were in Spanish. No. Judge awarded for the

    Bookmark   December 22, 2009 at 10:38AM
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cyn427 (zone 7)

This is all way too ridiculous, isn't it? I guess 'personal responsibility' is no longer part of our vernacular.
---getting balder by the minute! Should bring big bucks, huh?!

    Bookmark   December 22, 2009 at 3:35PM
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