Tuesday, April 3, 2012


Ok, I suppose today's post could be considered cheating (oh, wait, that's a "c" word, too!) but I really wanted to share this. My dad emailed it to me yesterday, and it's about our Crazy Courts (ha! A two-fer there!)

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 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 Stellas for year -- 2011:


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

Start scratching!


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.

Scratch some more...


Terrence Dickson, of Bristol , Pennsylvania , who 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 and survive 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...

Double hand scratching after this one..


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.

Pick a new spot to scratch, you're getting a bald spot..


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?

Only two more so ease up on the scratching...


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.

Ok. Here we go!!


This year's runaway First Place Stella Award winner was: Mrs. Merv Grazinski, of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, who purchased new 32-foot Winnebago motor home. On her first trip home, from an OU football game, having driven on to 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. Stone 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. Stone has any relatives who might also buy a motor home.

If you think the court system is out of control, be sure to pass this one on.


Zebsmom said...

They are all very scratchable, to say the least... and gave me a good giggle this fine Tuesday morning.

I must say, and yes I must, that I have a really big problem with the whole McDonalds case, and that so many feel it to be so outrageous. The facts were never really mentioned in the media, leading all of us to think it was outrageous..awarding money for stupidity.

Well, the 79 yr old woman was not driving but sitting still in the passenger seat of her grandsons car when she took the lid off the coffee to add cream and sugar. It was a styrofoam cup, and when she took the lid off it poured all over her legs. The sweat pants that she was wearing at the time soaked it all up, causing her to have third degree burns on her inner thighs, perineum, buttocks, and genital and groin areas. She spent 8 days in hospital getting skin graphs. She then tried to settle out of court with McDonalds for 20,000. and they refused, hence bringing it to trial where she was awarded money based on evidence that a jury felt was fair. This story has taken on a life of it's own and it is kind of a pet peeve of mine.

I hope we can stil be friends ??

Sorta Southern Single Mom said...

I was going to say... I get it... these really are outlandish, but there usually is more to the story (like all the facts about the McDonald's case mentioned by the previous commenter)...either way, it's still puzzling AND amusing!

Ricochet said...

And McDonalds had intentional set the temperature at almost boiling so that people could have have hot coffee later. They have since turned the temperature down.

The rest - candidates for the Darwin Awards but they lived.

You know the last words of many a Southern Male? "Here, hold my beer while I try this!"


Cool Beans! Your contribution was colossal and challenging! (Did you know Cool Beans comes from the early 1700's when French fur trappers roamed the American Midwest. After a successful outing they would say, "course bien" (pronounced 'cur'), meaning good run.

SonyaAnn said...

These people piss me off! We were sued for $40k, well that is what our car insurance had to pay because Den rear-ended a woman. Her bumper was dented. Den was cut off by a semi and had nowhere to go. People even stopped and told the cop that it wasn't his fault. I completely agree that her car should be fixed but she never stepped foot into a doctor's office and sued us for a back injury.

Rhia Roberts said...

I agree that there's probably more to the story than the media is sharing...but leaving the driver's seat while driving?? Not sure any of us can find a way to make that lady sound good!

Mark said...

This just makes me mad.

Ricochet said...

Hey, Rhia, one of my cousins did this in a car when cruise control first came out (she did not leaveher seat but she wasn't actively driving either).

Down in the south we would either say, bless her heart or you can't fix stupid.

You also don't pick your relatives.

Clippy Mat said...

ha ha take 'em all with a pinch of the proverbial but they're funny just the same.
thanks for sharing.

M said...

C is for crazy....I agree!

Stephanie said...

Borders on insane!! How do people think they can sue and get away with this stuff?? Oh, they do! So wrong.

Jessica L. Foster said...

What is the world coming to these days? Thanks for sharing, these stories were entertaining at least.

Scribe said...

This is crazy, but fun to read. We don't tend to get these frivolous law suits in Canada.

viveka said...

Brilliant ... Really great post.
This is totally crazy and it seams like in US they get away with anything. Don't people have to take any responsibly for their own actions over there ????

The Hopeful Romantic said...

Cheating - not at all! Amusing - yes! posts like this make me worry about the human race! Lol!

how are you finding the challenge? I am starting to feel a little daunted but still pressing on!


mmshaunakelley said...

I am not sure if I should laugh or cry at this. But I would like to find dude with the pellet gun and make sure he got charged with cruelty to animals!

Matthew MacNish said...

Stupid people make for fun stories.

Just dropping in as an A to Z co-host. Nice to meet you!

Please consider removing Word Verification from your comment form. It will make it easier for people to comment quickly during A to Z. See this post, if you need to know how.

Busy Bee Suz said...

You should have posted this on A-day.