Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Stella Awards - Words Fail Me

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
kind of cases that make you scratch your head. So keep your head
scratcher handy.

Here are the Stella's for this past year – 2011

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 neighbour ran over his hand with a Honda
Truman apparently didn't notice there was someone at the
wheel of the car when he was trying to steal his neighbour's hubcaps.

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.

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 neighbour'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.


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?

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!! Drum roll ...

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 owners 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 its manuals as a result of
this suit, just in case Mrs Grazinski has any relatives who might
also buy a motor home.

If you think the court system is out of control and
America has lost ALL common sense, be sure to pass this one on!!!

Even if that's not where you're coming from, pass it on because it's simply
mind-boggling. And who doesn't enjoy a mind boggle every now and then!

As I said at the beginning – Words Fail Me!