2011 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 Stellas for 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 >> 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…

>> 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 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 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.

>> If you think the court system is out of control, be sure to pass this >> one on. >>


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