2005 Stella Awards

jbw1776jbw1776 Member Posts: 3,056
edited January 2006 in General Discussion
OK, 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 the coffee.

That's right, these are awards for the most outlandish lawsuits and verdicts that happened in the U.S. during 2005. You know, the kinds of cases that make you scratch your head and say, "What the f**k??" So keep your head scratchers handy, here are the Stellas for the past year:

To kick things off the right way, there was a three-way tie for 5th place. 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 suprised by the verdict, considering the running toddler was Ms. Robertson's son.

Also in 5th place is Carl Truman, 19, of Los Angeles, California - you knew California had to be in the list somewhere, right? - who 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 care when he was trying to steal his neighbor's hubcaps. Go ahead, Voyeurwebbers, grab your head scratchers.

The last of the 5th Place winners went to Terrence Dickson, of Bristol, Pennsylvania, who was leaving a house he has just robbed 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 subsist for eight - count 'em, 8! - days 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.

Jerry Williams, of Little Rock, Arkansas, garnered 4th Place in the Stellas when he was awarde $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 it's 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 shooting the dog with a pellet gun. Grrrrr ... scratch, scratch.

Third Place went to Amber Carson of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, because a jury ordered a Philadelphia restaurant to pay her $113,500 after she slipped on soft drink an broke her tailbone (coccyx). 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? Scratch, scratch, scratch.

Hang in there, there are only two more Stellas to go.

Second Place: 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. Eye knows, go figure.

Finally, (may Eye have a fanfare played on 50 kazoos please) this year's runaway First Place Stella Award winner was Mrs. Merv Grazinski, of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, who purchased a new 32-foot Winnebago motor home. On her first trip home - from an OU football game, no less - 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.

Don't look so incredulous, remember, we're talking about Oklahoma here.

Not surprsingly, the motor home left the freeway, crashed and overturned. Also not surprisingly, Mrs. Grazinski 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 - you are sitting down, right? - $1,750,000 PLUS a new motor home. Winnebago actually changed their manuals as a result of this suit, just in case Mrs. Grazinski has any relatives who might buy a motor home.



  • catpealer111catpealer111 Member Posts: 10,695
    edited November -1
    One word, WOW.
  • jimkanejimkane Member Posts: 1,534 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    and people wonder why insurance costs so much
  • guns-n-painthorsesguns-n-painthorses Member Posts: 7,041
    edited November -1
    Well, I don't know about all of them, but the Winnebago one is false.

  • DonldDonld Member Posts: 741 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I wish these were all true so that I could maintain my finely tuned sense of outrage, but you might be wise to Snopes them. I have heard that all of these are urban legends.
  • Ray BRay B Member Posts: 11,822
    edited November -1
    So where's Stanley when you need him???
  • yawarakaiyawarakai Member Posts: 2,688 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Those are all fake, here are the real ones. Check out the website, Randy does great stuff with newsletters. He also publishes This is True.

    True Stella Awards #72: 31 January 2006 www.StellaAwards.com

    The TRUE Stella Awards -- 2005 Runners-Up and Winner
    by Randy Cassingham

    Unlike the FAKE cases that have been highly circulated online for the last several years (see http://www.StellaAwards.com/bogus.html for details), the following cases have been researched from public sources and are confirmed TRUE by the ONLY legitimate source for the Stella
    Awards: www.StellaAwards.com . To confirm this copy is legitimate, see http://www.StellaAwards.com/2005.html

    PLEASE DO FORWARD this issue -- it's allowed so long as you send it in its entirety. MEDIA OUTLETS: See http://www.StellaAwards.com/2005.html
    *BEFORE* running the awards as that page has permission info and will have any needed updates and corrections.


    2005 Runners-Up and Winner:

    #7: Bob Dougherty. A prankster smeared glue on the toilet seat at the
    Home Depot store in Louisville, Colo., causing Dougherty to stick to
    it when he sat down. "This is not Home Depot's fault," he proclaimed,
    yet the store graciously offered him $2,000 anyway. Dougherty
    complained that offer is "insulting" and filed suit demanding $3

    #6: Barbara Connors of Medfield, Mass. Connors was riding in a car driven
    by her 70-year-old(!) son-in-law when they crashed into the
    Connecticut River, and Connors sank with the car. Rescue divers
    arrived within minutes and got her out alive, but Connors suffered
    brain damage from her near-drowning. Sue the driver? Sure, we guess
    that's reasonable. But she also sued the brave rescue workers who
    risked their lives to save hers.

    #5: Michelle Knepper of Vancouver, Wash. Knepper picked a doctor out of
    the phone book to do her liposuction, and went ahead with the
    procedure even though the doctor was only a dermatologist, not a
    plastic surgeon. After having complications, she complained she never
    would have chosen that doctor had she known he wasn't Board Certified
    in the procedure. (She relied on the phonebook listing over asking the
    doctor, or looking for a certificate on his wall?!) So she sued ...the
    phone company! She won $1.2 million PLUS $375,000 for her husband for
    "loss of spousal services and companionship."

    #4: Rhonda Nichols. She says a wild bird "attacked" her outside a home
    improvement store in Fairview Heights, Ill., causing head injuries.
    That's right: OUTSIDE the store. Yet Nichols still held the Lowe's
    store responsible for "allowing" wild birds to fly around free in the
    air. She never reported the incident to the store, but still sued for
    "at least" $100,000 in damages. In January 2006, the case was thrown
    out of court.

    #3: Barnard Lorence of Stuart, Fla. Lorence managed to overdraw his own
    bank account. When the bank charged him a service fee for the
    overdraft, he filed suit over his "stress and pain" and loss of sleep
    over the fee. A few hundred thousand bucks, he says, will only amount
    to a "slap on the wrist", whereas the $2 million he's suing for is
    more like being "paddled". Kinky!

    #2: Wanita "Renea" Young of Durango, Colo. Two neighborhood teens baked
    cookies for their neighbors as an anonymous gesture of good will, but
    Young got scared when she heard them on her front porch. They
    apologized, in writing, but Young sued them anyway for causing her
    distress, demanding $3,000. When she won(!!) $900, she crowed about it
    in the newspaper and on national TV. Now, she's shocked (shocked!)
    that everyone in town hates her for her spite, and is afraid she may
    have to move. But hey: she won.

    AND THE WINNER of the 2005 Stella Award: Christopher Roller of
    Burnsville, Minn. Roller is mystified by professional magicians, so he
    sued David Blaine and David Copperfield to demand they reveal their
    secrets to them -- or else pay him 10 percent of their lifelong
    earnings, which he figures amounts to $50 million for Copperfield and
    $2 million for Blaine. The basis for his suit: Roller claims that the
    magicians defy the laws of physics, and thus must be using "godly
    powers" -- and since ROLLER is god (according to him), they're
    "somehow" stealing that power from him.


    TO CONFIRM THE VALIDITY OF THESE CASES, get more information on the True
    Stella Awards, or sign up for a free e-mail subscription to new cases
    as they are issued, see http://www.StellaAwards.com/2005.html

    WANT TO SEE THE FULL WRITE-UPS of all of these cases? A PDF file is
    available for a small fee. See http://www.StellaAwards.com/2005.html
    for info.

    NOTE: If the summary doesn't state an outcome for a case, it's probably
    still pending. Unlike the fantasy world of the urban legend Stella
    Awards, in real life the courts are so clogged, and "justice" so slow,
    that it can take many years for a case to conclude. Sorry, but there
    are no pat endings in the real world. If YOU hear of an update, please
    DO send us a URL so we can update our readers. Thanks.

    Copyright 2006 www.StellaAwards.com . This message may be forwarded as
    long as it remains complete and unaltered.
  • The artist formerly known as DanoThe artist formerly known as Dano Member Posts: 29,215
    edited November -1
    Last Fall, in Phoenix, AZ., a female, approx. 5 mos. pregnant, was driving down one of the highways that run thru Phoenix.

    No big deal, until she chose to drive in the HOV (High Occupancy Vehicle) lane. These lanes require a min. of two people per car, and are restricted during certain hours of the day to help cut down on traffic congestion.

    Well....she was stopped and cited for driving in the HOV lane, as she was the only person in her car. She complained to the officer that she was pregnant, and therefore, she met the criteria for two people in a car. The officer didn't buy it and she was cited for $150.00

    Preganant woman made a big deal out of being cited and alerted the local news media. It ran for a couple of days on the news.

    Pregnant woman decides to take it to court. Once again, she alerts the news media. They cover it, interview her and some others, and get some opinions.

    Day in court arrives, she makes her case.....and LOSES! [:D][^]

    So....I'm wondering, if she had decided to go see a movie, would she insist on paying for two tickets? [;)]
  • zipperzapzipperzap Member Posts: 25,057
    edited November -1
    Ironic! I used to know a 'Stella'
    with great 'Winnebagos!'

    She was only second to
    Treasure Lee Simms!
    (Treasure, you out there?)

    We used to call her,
    Treasure Chest! [:D][:D][:D]
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