Thursday, January 02, 2003

Candidates for the annual Stella Awards

The Stella's are named after 81-year-old Stella Liebeck who spilled coffee on herself and successfully sued McDonalds. That case inspired the Stella awards for the most frivolous successful lawsuits in the United States. The following are this year's candidates:
(Thanks to my friend Hank Morgan for sending these along)

1. K R 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 little toddler was Ms. R's son.

2. A 19-year-old C T of Los Angeles won $74,000 and medical expenses when his neighbor ran over his hand with a
Honda Accord. Mr. T apparently didn't notice there was someone at the wheel of the car when he was trying to steal his
neighbor's hub caps.

3. T D 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 reenter the house because the door connecting the house and garage locked when he pulled it shut. The family was on vacation, and Mr.D 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 claiming the situation caused him undue mental anguish. The jury agreed to the tune of $500,000.

4.J W 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. W who was shooting it repeatedly with a pellet gun.

5.A Philadelphia restaurant was ordered to pay A C 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. C had thrown it at her boyfriend 30
seconds earlier during an argument.

6.K W 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. W 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.

7. This year's favorite could easily be Mr. M G of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Mr. G purchased a brand new
32-foot Winnebago motor home. On his first trip home, having driven onto 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 RV left the freeway, crashed
and overturned. Mr. G sued Winnebago for not advising him in the owner's manual that he couldn't actually do this. The
jury awarded him $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 buying their recreation vehicles.