Time to review the winners of the annual "Stella Awards".
"Stellas'" are named after 81 year old Stella Liebeck who spilled coffee on herself and successfully sued McDonald's. That
case inspired the "Stella Awards" for the most frivolous successful lawsuits in the United States.
the most recent lawsuit implicating McDonald's, the teens who allege that eating at McDonald's has made them fat, was filed
after the 2003 award voting was closed. This suit will top the 2004 awards list without question.
YEAR'S AWARDS GO TO: 5TH PLACE
Kathleen Robertson 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 toddler was Ms. Robertson's
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 did not notice
there was someone at the wheel of the car when he was trying to steal the hubcaps.
5TH PLACE (TIED)
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 could not 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 8 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.
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 dog. 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 a little provoked
at the time as Mr. Williams, who had climbed over the
fence into the yard, was shooting it repeatedly with a pellet gun.
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.
Kara Walton of Claymont, Delaware sued the owner of
a Night Club in a neighboring city when she fell from the bathroom window to the floor and knocked out two of her front teeth.
This occurred while Ms. Walton was trying to sneak in the window of the Ladies Room to avoid paying the $3.50 cover charge.
She was awarded $12,000 and dental expenses.
This year's runaway
winner was Mr. Merv Grazinski of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Mr. Grazinski purchased a brand new Winnebago motor home. On his trip home from an OU football game, having driven onto the
freeway, he set the cruise control at 70 mph and calmly left the driver's seat to go into the back and make himself a cup
of coffee. Not surprisingly the RV left the freeway, crashed and overturned. Mr. Grazinski sued Winnebago for not advising
him in the owner's manual t! hat he could not actually do this. The jury awarded him $1,750,000 plus a new Winnebago 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 recreational vehicles.