It’s once again time to review the winners of the annual Stella Awards. The Stellas’ 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.
THIS YEAR’S AWARDS GO TO:
5TH PLACE (TIED):
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 toddler was Ms. Robertson’s Son.
5TH PLACE (TIED):
A man, 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 did not notice there was someone at the wheel of the car when he was trying to steal the hubcaps.
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 dog. The Beagle was on a chain in its owner’s fenced yard. The award was less than sought for because the jury felt the dog might have been a little provoked. At the time, Mr. Williams, who had climbed over the fence into the yard, had been shooting it repeatedly with a pellet gun.
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.
Kara Walton of Claymont, Delaware sued the owner of a Night Club in a neighboring city when she fell from the bathroom window to the floor and knocked out two of her front teeth. This occurred whilst Ms. Walton was trying to sneak in the window of the Ladies Room to avoid paying the $3.50 cover charge. She was awarded $12,000 and dental expenses.
This year’s runaway winner was Mr. Merv Grazinski of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Mr. Grazinski purchased a brand new Winnebago Motorhome. On his trip home from an OU football game, having driven onto the freeway, he set the cruise control at 70 mph and calmly left the driver’s seat to go into the back and make himself a cup of coffee. Not surprisingly, the RV left the freeway, crashed and overturned. Mr. Grazinski sued Winnebago for not advising him in the owner’s manual that he could not actually do this. The jury awarded him $1,750,000 plus a new Winnebago Motorhome. The company actually changed their manuals on the basis of this suit just in case there were any other complete morons buying their recreational vehicles!
Contributed by Clara