I don't know whether to laugh or cry or kick these people AND the judges in the head repeatedly. Blows my mind when I read stuff like this.
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. 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 little toddler was Ms. Robertson's son.
2. 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.
3. 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
4. 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.
5. 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.
6.Kara Walton of Claymont, Delaware, successfully sued the owner of a night club 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.
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.
It turns out these are fake. Here are some real ones, with the link to the verified site below.
The TRUE Stella Awards -- 2002 Winners
#7: Attorney Philip Shafer of Ashland, Ohio, flew on Delta Airlines from
New Orleans to Cincinnati and was given a seat, he says, next to a fat
man. "He was a huge man," Shafer says. "He and I [were] literally and
figuratively married from the right kneecap to the shoulder for two
hours." He therefore "suffered embarrassment, severe discomfort,
mental anguish and severe emotional distress," he claims in a lawsuit
against the airline. Shafer figures this embarrassment, discomfort,
mental anguish and emotional distress could be cured by a $9,500
payment from Delta. If Shafer isn't careful, that might be dwarfed by
the divorce settlement his "huge" (seat)mate might demand.
#6: "The Godfather of Soul" James Brown has a "grudge" against his
daughters Deanna Brown Thomas and Yamma Brown Lumar, they allege. They
say Brown "vowed to the media that his daughters will never get a dime
from him" and "James Brown has kept his word." So they have done what
any kid would do when cut off from their rich daddy's bank account:
they sued him for more than $1 million, claiming that they are owed
royalties on 25 of his songs which, they say, they helped him write
even though, at the time, they were children. For instance, when
Brown's 1976 hit "Get Up Offa That Thing" was a chart-topper, the
girls were aged 3 and 6. It's enough to make Brown switch to the
#5: Utah prison inmate Robert Paul Rice, serving 1-15 years on multiple
felonies, sued the Utah Department of Corrections claiming the prison
was not letting him practice his religion: "Druidic Vampire". Rice
claimed that to do that, he must be allowed sexual access to a
"vampress". In addition, the prison isn't supplying his specific
"vampiric dietary needs" (yes: blood). Records show that Rice
registered as a Catholic when he was imprisoned in 2000. "Without any
question we do not have conjugal visits in Utah," said a prison
spokesman when the suit was thrown out. Which just goes to prove
prison life sucks.
#4: Every time you visit your doctor, you're told the same old things:
eat less, exercise more, stop smoking. Do you listen? Neither did
Kathleen Ann McCormick. The obese, cigarette-smoking woman from
Wilkes-Barre, Penn., had high blood pressure, high cholesterol and a
family history of coronary artery disease. Yet doctors at the
Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center "did not do enough" to
convince her to work to improve her own health. Unsurprisingly, she
had a heart attack which, she says in a federal lawsuit, left her a
"cardiac invalid". In addition to eight doctors, she's suing their
employer -- the U.S. government -- demanding a minimum of $1 million
#3: In 1997 Bob Craft, then 39, of Hot Springs, Montana, changed his name
to Jack Ass. Now, he says that MTV's TV show and movie "Jackass" was
"plagiarized" from him, infringes his trademarks and copyrights, and
that this has demeaned, denigrated and damaged his public image. No
attorney would take the case, so he has filed suit on his own against
MTV's corporate parent, demanding $50 million in damages. If nothing
else, Jack Ass has proved he chose his name well.
#2: Hazel Norton of Rolling Fork, Miss., read there was a class action
suit against the drug Propulsid, which her doctor had prescribed to
her for a digestive disorder. Despite admitting that "I didn't get
hurt by Propulsid," Norton thought "I might get a couple of thousand
dollars" by joining the lawsuit. When her doctor was named in the
suit, he quit his Mississippi practice -- where he was serving the
poor. He left with his wife, a pediatrician and internist. That left
only two doctors practicing at the local hospital. So while Norton
wasn't harmed by the drug, all her neighbors now get to suffer from
drastically reduced access to medical care because of her greed.
AND THE WINNER of the 2002 True Stella Awards: sisters Janice Bird, Dayle
Bird Edgmon and Kim Bird Moran sued their mother's doctors and a
hospital after Janice accompanied her mother, Nita Bird, to a minor
medical procedure. When something went wrong, Janice and Dayle
witnessed doctors rushing their mother to emergency surgery. Rather
than malpractice, their legal fight centered on the "negligent
infliction of emotional distress" -- not for causing distress to their
mother, but for causing distress to THEM for having to SEE the doctors
rushing to help their mother. The case was fought all the way to the
California Supreme Court, which finally ruled against the women. Which
is a good thing, since if they had prevailed doctors and hospitals
would have had no choice but to keep YOU from being anywhere near your
family members during medical procedures just in case something goes
wrong. In their greed, the Bird sisters risked everyone's right to have
family members with them in emergencies.