Friday, June 17, 2005

The Stella Awards

Proving once again that the truth is far more interesting, scary, and absurd than fiction...I share with you now the winners of the annual Stella Awards. The Stella's are named after Stella Lieveck who spilled hot coffee on herself and successfully sued McDonald's. That case inspired the "Stella Awards" for the most frivolous, successful lawsuits in States.

This year's awards go to:

5th Place (tie) - 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 son.

5th Place (tie) - 19 year old Carl Truman of Los Angeles won $74,000 and medical expenses 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 tried to steal the hubcaps.

5th Place (tie) - Terrence Dickson of Briston, Pennsylvania was leaving a house he had just robbed 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 couldnot re-enter the house because the door connecting the garage to the house 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 dog food. He sued the homeowner's insurance company claiming the situation caused him undue mental anquish. The jury agreed to the tune of $500,000.

4th Place - Jerry Williams of Little Rock, Arkansas was awarded $14,500 and medical expenses after being bitten on the buttocks by his neighbor's Beagle. The dog was on a chain in it's owner's fenced yard. The award was less than the plaintiff originally sought because the jury felt the dog might have been provoked at the time, since Mr. Williams, who had climbed over the fence into the yard, was shooting it repeatedly with a pellet gun.

3rd Place - A Philadelphia restaurant was ordered to pay Amber Carson of Lancaster, Pennsylvania $113,500 after she slipped on a soft drink and broke her hercoccyx (tailbone). The beverage was on the floor because Ms. Carson had thrown it at her boyfriend 30 seconds earlier, during an argument.

2nd Place - 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 wastrying 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.

1st Place - This year's runaway winner was Merv Grazinski of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Mr. Grazinski purchased a brand new Winnebago motor home. On the trip home from a 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 to 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 that he could not actually do this. The jury awarded him $1,750,000 plus a new Winnebago motor home. The company has since changed their manuals on the basis of this suit just in case there were any other complete morons buying their recreational vehicles.

Can something be done to stop this or are we in such a downward spiral that there is no end in sight? Here in Derry they speak of a "claim culture". It's rampant and there are equally absurd stories to relate. When I speak to locals about they say "...but sure, we learned it from you!" An example of a negative American export I guess. Balanced, though, by Disney and Coca-Cola.

The "sue yr. ass culture" leads us down a slippery slope of fear and loathing until one day we may very well find ourselves doing nothing. JUst think of all the things that could happen if you stepped outside?: accidents, reprisals, claims and counter-claims. Perhaps that will be our solution: don't do anything. Don't go outside, don't eat at restuarants (or anything from a store for that matter), and for godsakes do not engage with other people without a reliable and independent third party (it's your word against theirs remember).

I have to get going. It's been raining here for close to four days now and I'm thinking about suing Mother Nature via the Dept. of the Environment. Three days is far too long, given all of our modern technology. I mean Russia uses chemicals despersed by jets to clear the air of clouds before important ceremonies. Why can't our gov't provide the same? We have more money than the Ruskies? This is absolute shite. I can't believe that in this day and age our gov'ts will allow it to rain, snow, storm, whatever, for any length of time. I mean, for Chrissakes, I'm getting married in a couple weeks! Something needs to be done. Someone must be held accountable for all this weather!


Blogger Dave said...

Everytime I see lists like these I feel conflicted. Sometimes companies and people need to be sued. A lot a companies go out of their way to seperate ordinary people from their money. If harm comes to ordinary people because of deception, poor business practices or poor craftsmanship those people should sue. The guys running Enron? You bet they should face the ire of those they cheated. Big Tobacco? For what they knew when they knew it those monkeys have gotten what they deserve. When you read about law suits that are just idiotic it takes way the power that suing has on keeping assholes in check. Can I get a witness?

Tuesday, June 21, 2005 8:35:00 PM  

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