It's time once again to
review the winners of the Annual "Stella Awards." The
Stella Awards were named after 81 year-old Stella Liebeck, who
spilled hot coffee on herself and successfully sued McDonald's (in
the state of New Mexico). That case inspired the Stella Awards for
the most frivolous and ridiculous, yet successful, lawsuits in the
Here are this year's winners:
5th Place (tie):
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 owners of the store were
understandably surprised at the verdict, considering the misbehaving
little toddler was Ms. Robertson's son.
5th Place (tie):
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 didn't notice there was someone at the wheel
of the car when he was trying to steal his neighbor's hubcaps.
5th Place (tie):
Terrence Dickson of Bristol, Pennsylvania, was leaving a house he
had just finished robbing by way of the garage. He was not able to
get the garage door to go up since 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, and 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. He sued the homeowner's insurance
company claiming the situation caused him undue mental anguish. The
jury agreed to the tune of $500,000.
4th Place :
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
yard. The award was less than sought because the jury felt the dog
might have been just a little provoked at the time by Mr. Williams
who had climbed over the fence into the yard and was shooting it
repeatedly with a pellet gun.
3rd Place :
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.
2nd Place :
Kara Walton of Claymont, Delaware, successfully sued the owner of a
night club 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.
1st Place :
This year's run away winner was Mrs. Merv Grazinski of Oklahoma
City, Oklahoma. Mrs. Grazinski purchased a brand 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 into the back and
make herself a sandwich. Not surprisingly, the RV left the freeway,
crashed and overturned. Mrs. Grazinski sued Winnebago for not
advising her in the owner's manual that she couldn't actually do
this. The jury awarded her $1,750,000 plus a new motor home. The
company actually changed their manuals on the basis of this suit,
just in case there were any other complete morons around.