2007 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. The highly intelligent Stella took the lid off the coffee and put the open hot coffee
between her knees while she was driving. The outcome of the lawsuit, Liebeck vs. McDonalds
Restaurants ... the jury awarded Stella $2.9 Million Dollars!!!!!
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.
The following are all real legal verdicts from the past year.
Here are the Stella's for 2007:
7TH PLACE : 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.
6TH PLACE: 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.
5TH PLACE: Terrence Dickson, of Bristol, Pennsylvania, 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 days 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.
4TH PLACE : 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.
3RD PLACE: A jury ordered a Philadelphia restaurant to pay Amber
Carson of Lancaster, Pennsylvania $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.
2ND PLACE: 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... plus dental expenses.
1ST PLACE: 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 time out, she was coming
home from an OU football game; she entered the freeway, 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.