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Saturday, January 31, 2009

2009 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. 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 Stella's for the past year:

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.

Go ahead, grab your head scratcher.

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, count 'em, 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. We should all have this kind of anguish.

Keep scratching. There are more.

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.

Grrrrr ..... Scratch, scratch.

3RD PLACE:
Third place goes to 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?

Scratch, scratch, scratch. Hang in there; there are only two more Stella's
to go...

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 ...oh, yeah, plus dental expenses. Go figure.


1ST PLACE: .....May I have a fanfare played on 50 kazoos please This year's runaway First Place Stella Award winner was Mrs. Merv Grazinski, of Oklahoma , who purchased a new 32-foot Winnebago motor home. On her first trip home from an OU football game, having driven onto 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.

You can't fix stupid, and now its profitable!!

As many of you know, some are wives tales but they are always fun and funny.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Stella got a bad rap.

If you research this one, Joe, you'll find that McDonalds KNEW it's coffee was kept at a dangerous temp and issued a memo to keep it that way! They frickin' knew, even after the accident and STILL did not correct it.

And if you saw the photos of the scald burns on that lady's body, well, if she had been your mom, you wouldn't be calling her stupid. You'd be in McDonalds punching somebody's lights out!

Anonymous said...

damn,
everyone of them have unlist phone #'s.

12:27
If it was my mother, I would call her stupid. the key word here is "HOT". To bad she only got burned, she would have received a Darwin award If she'd just got herself killed. I'm sure by that time she had already spread her "Stupid Gene" to the next generation.
Here's your Sign.

Tom Sawyer

Anonymous said...

Grazinski....That's polish so I can understand that one...

Anonymous said...

and we wonder why frivilous lawsuits run amuck.... hang on folks.... its only going to "better" now that "change" is on the rise!!!!! Remember last weeks Supreme court's decision? RP

Foggy Views said...

Have a prosecuetor friend whom I asked about this case. He responded he had pulled the case files and reviewed the facts of the case. The facts demonstrated without a doubt the McDonalds in question had repeatedly been warned and cited for not following company policy. He felt verdict was correct.

Anonymous said...

You have to be kidding me. MCD's all have LISTED phone numbers. Learn to use phone book.

"HOT" coffee, should have been self explanatory. Also, one's crotch is not an appropriate cup holder, especially for HOT beverages. The fact that this woman crushed the cup with her thighs is the reason why we all understand it was a law suite without merit. And as for someone with mgmt experience with McD's during the time of HOT coffee, tests were done that determined that the coffee cooled significantly before it can be consumed thus the temp increase was for the enjoyment of the customer. Warnings were always there, and unless you are a moron, you should be able to tell.... steam, and physical hot to touch should warn you.

Georgia Trial Lawyers Association said...

those you mentioned? all FALSE.

There are many debunked jury "award" reports linked to the claimed awards.

From their own site:

"Many stories are going around the 'net saying they are "The Stella Awards". Many of these stories are false, made-up, or (sometimes) true stories with false elements added to them.

The sad part: despite these stories having been debunked years ago, they not only still circulate, but many reporters, columnists and radio "personalities" still talk about them as if they were true, which says a lot about their professionalism. In many outrageous cases, these lazy "news" people will even link to this site as the source of these silly lies."


Claimed Cases -Status:

Kathleen Robertson of Austin, Texas, was awarded $780,000 by a jury after breaking her ankle tripping over a toddler who was running amuck inside a furniture store. The owners of the store were understandably surprised at the verdict, considering the misbehaving tyke was Ms. Robertson's son. Fabricated.

Carl Truman, 19, of Los Angeles won $74,000 and medical expenses when his neighbor ran his hand over with a Honda Accord. Mr. Truman apparently didn't notice someone was at the wheel of the car whose hubcap he was trying to steal. Fabricated.

Terrence Dickson of Bristol, Penn., was exiting a house he finished robbing by way of the garage. He was not able to get the garage door to go up because the automatic door opener was malfunctioning. He couldn't re-enter the house because the door connecting the house and garage locked when he pulled it shut. The family was on vacation, so 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. Dickson sued the homeowner's insurance claiming the situation caused him undue mental anguish. The jury agreed to the tune of half a million dollars and change.Fabricated.

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-in yard, as was Mr. Williams. The award was less than sought after because the jury felt the dog may have been provoked by Mr. Williams who, at the time, was shooting it repeatedly with a pellet gun. Fabricated.

A Philadelphia restaurant was ordered to pay Amber Carson of Lancaster, Pennsylvania $113,500 after she slipped on a spilled soft drink and broke her coccyx. The beverage was on the floor because Ms. Carson threw it at her boyfriend 30 seconds earlier during an argument. Fabricated.

Kara Walton of Claymont, Delaware, successfully sued the owner of a nightclub 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. Fabricated.

The "winner" every year: In November, Mr. Grazinski purchased a brand new 32 foot Winnebago motor home. On his first trip home, having joined 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 Winnie left the freeway, crashed and overturned. Mr. Grazinski sued Winnebago for not advising him in the handbook that he could not actually do this. He was awarded $1,750,000 plus a new Winnebago. Fabricated.

Don't be fooled into believing all that you read on the web.