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The "Stella" Awards

The "Stella" awards rank up there with the Darwin awards. In 1994, a
New Mexico jury awarded $ 2.9 million U.S. in damages to 81-year-old
Stella Liebeck who suffered third-degree burns to her legs, groin and
buttocks after spilling a cup of McDonald's coffee on herself. This
case inspired an annual award - The "Stella" Award - for the most
frivolous lawsuit in the U.S. The ones listed below are clear
candidates. All these cases are verging on the outright ridiculous and
yet with the right attorney you could win anything!

1.. January 2000:
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 bastard was Ms. Robertson's son.

2. June 1998:
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 hubcaps.

3. October 1998:
A 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. 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 half a million dollars.

4. October 1999:
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-in
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. May 2000:
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. The beverage was on the floor because Ms. Carson
threw it at her boyfriend 30 seconds earlier during an argument.

6. December 1997:
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.

And the winner is:
Mr Merv Grazinski of Oklahoma City. In November 2000 Mr Grazinski
purchased a brand new 32 foot Winnebago motor home. On his first trip
home, having joined 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 Winnie left the freeway, crashed
and overturned. Mr Grazinski sued Winnebago for not advising him in
the handbook that he couldn't actually do this. He was awarded
$1,750,000 plus a new Winnie.
(Winniebago actually changed their handbooks on the back of this
court case, just in case there are any other complete morons buying
their vehicles.)


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