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 2013:
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.
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.
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.
Jerry Williams, of Little Rock, Arkansas, garnered 4th Place
in the Stellas 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 and repeatedly shot the dog with a pellet gun.
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
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, plus dental expenses.
Ms. 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 went
to sleep in the driver's seat while the cruisecontrol was set.
The Oklahoma jury awarded her$1,750,000 PLUS a new motor home.
Winnebago actually changed their manuals as a result of this
suit, just in case Ms. Grazinski has any relatives who might
also buy a motor home.
These people are your neighbors!