It's time once again to consider the 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:
1. 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
2. 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 was shooting
it repeatedly with a pellet gun.
3. A 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 hub caps.
4. A. Philadelphia restaurant was ordered to pay Amber Carson of
Lancaster, Pennsylvania, $113,500 a! after she slipped on a soft drink
spill 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.
5. 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 reenter 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.
6. A jury of her peers awarded Kathleen Robertson of Austin, Texas,
$780,000 after breaking her ankle by 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.
7. This year's favorite could easily be Mr. Merv Grazinski of Oklahoma
City, Oklahoma. Mr. Grazinski 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 R.V. left
the freeway, crashed and overturned. Mr. Grazinski 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.