The Stella's are named after 81-year-old Stella Liebeck who spilled coffee on
herself and successfully sued McDonald's. That case inspired the Stella
Awards for the most frivolous successful lawsuits in the United States. The
following are this year's candidates:
1. Kathleen Robertson of Austin, Texas, was awarded $780,000 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
Kathleen Robertson's son.
2. A 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 hub caps.
3. 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 reenter 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.
4. 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 sought because the jury felt the dog might have been just a little
provoked at the time by Mr. Williams who was shooting it repeatedly with a
5. A Philadelphia restaurant was ordered to pay Amber Carson of Lancaster,
Pennsylvania, $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.
6. Kara Walton of Claymont, Delaware, successfully sued the owner of a night
club 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 expenses.
7. This year's favorite could easily be Mr. Merv Grazinski of Oklahoma City,
Oklahoma. Mr. Grazinski purchased a brand new 32-foot Winnebago motor
home. On his first trip home, having driven onto the freeway, he set the cruise
control at 70 mph and calmly left the drivers seat to go into the back and
make himself a cup of coffee. Not surprisingly, the R.V. left the freeway,
crashed and overturned. Mr. Grazinski sued Winnebago for not advising him
in the owner's manual that he couldn't actually do this. The jury awarded him
$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 buying their recreation vehicles.
It's no wonder our insurance rates have become so outrageously high!!