Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Moron Nation

Found on the net and sent to me:

Time once again to review the winners of the Annual "Stella Awards." The Stella Awards are named after 81 year-old Stella Liebeck who spilled hotcoffee on herself and successfully sued McDonald's (in NM). That case inspired the Stella Awards for the most frivolous, ridiculous, successful lawsuits in the United States. Here are this year's winners:

5th Place (tie): Kathleen Robertson of Austin, Texas, was awarded $80,000 by a jury of herpeers after breaking her ankle tripping over a toddler who was runninginside a furniture store. The owners of the store were understandablysurprised at the verdict, considering the misbehaving little toddler wasMs. 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 claiming the situation caused him undue mental anguish. The jury agreed, to the tune of $500,000. In my opinion this is so outrageous that it should have been 2nd Place!

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.

2ndPlace: 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.

1st Place: This year's runaway winner was Mrs. Merv Grazinski of Oklahoma City,Oklahoma. Mrs. Grazinski purchased a brand new 32-foot Winnebago motorhome. 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 & 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.

Now this comes to $2,544,000 in cash awards to these morons. It doesn't include medical expenses nor additional items like the RV lady.

I have nothing else to say on this matter. I leave it to you.

Edit: Well, I guess I do have something more to say on the matter. The above is false, and I was misled, scammed, punked, whatever....

Snopes has this to say:

Fake or not, a list of outrageous awards bestowed upon those whose actions — nay, misbehaviors — had brought them to grief would fall upon very receptive ears because current feeling is very much against large jury awards for frivolous claims. This e-mail preaches to the choir in that it "confirms" what is already deeply believed.

This is a good lesson in that the lie "The Stella Awards" was wrapped inside the truth - a woman did get burned by McDonald's coffee, did sue and did receive $$$$$.


Chesher Cat said...

This is the root of what is wrong with this country.

Chopped Nuts said...

The one about the guy locked in the garage and the one about the woman tripping over her toddler are repeats from some previous year. So either the people who post these awards aren't doing much homework, or (even worse), people are winning these lawsuits with similar cases over and over again.

chris heimpel said...


Lee said...

Time to sue someone for loss of credibility, Bill. How can I ever believe you again?

Bill Cunningham said...

I'll get mine, and it won't take the court system either. See? I'm a libertarian at heart, I don't clog the system with unnecessary lawsuits when a good Louisville slugger to the kneecap is sufficient.

You're welcome.

Steve Peterson said...

Even the McDonald's case is more complex than all that.

This article, originally in the Wall Street Journal, explains what the jurors were considering when they made their verdict.

Overlawyered responds to various debunkings of the case with some cogent points.

Regardless, while it might be an example of where the legal system needs reform, I don't think it's an example of insane or idiotic jurors.