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 the coffee. You remember, she took the lid off the coffee and put it between her knees while she was driving.
Here are the Stella's for the past year:
7TH PLACE :
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.
6TH PLACE :
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.
Go ahead, grab your head scratcher.
5TH PLACE :
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 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. We should all have this kind of anguish. Keep scratching. There are more...
4TH PLACE :
Jerry Williams, of Little Rock , Arkansas , garnered 4th Place in the Stella's 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 fence into the yard and repeatedly shot the dog with a pellet gun.
Grrrrr. Scratch, scratch.
3RD PLACE :
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 argument. Whatever happened to people being responsible for their own actions? Scratch, scratch, scratch. Hang in there; there are only two more
Stellas to go...
2ND PLACE :
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...oh, yeah, plus dental expenses. Go figure.
1ST PLACE : (May I have a fanfare played on 50 kazoos please)
This year's runaway First Place Stella Award winner was Mrs. Merv Grazinski, of Oklahoma City , Oklahoma , who purchased a 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 left the driver's seat to go to the back of the Winnebago to make herself a sandwich. Not surprisingly, the motor home left the freeway, crashed and overturned. Also not surprisingly, Mrs. Grazinski sued Winnebago for not putting in the owner's manual that she couldn't actually leave the driver's seat while the cruise control was set. The Oklahoma jury awarded her, are you sitting down, $1,750,000 PLUS a new motor home. Winnebago actually changed their manuals as a result of this suit, just in case Mrs. Grazinski has any relatives who might also buy a motor home.
Are we, as a society, getting more stupid...? Ya think??!!
More than a few of our judge's elevators don't go to the top floor either!
I have no idea if this is true but it is worth something.
Bill Gates vs General Motors
At a recent computer expo (COMDEX), Bill Gates reportedly compared the
computer industry with the auto industry and stated, "If GM had kept up with
technology like the computer industry has, we would all be driving $25.00
cars that got 1,000 miles to the gallon."
In response to Bill's comments, General Motors issued a press release
stating: If GM had developed technology like Microsoft, we would all be
driving cars with the following characteristics (and I just love this part):
1. For no reason whatsoever, your car would crash twice a day.
2. Every time they repainted the lines in the road, you would have to
buy a new car.
3. Occasionally your car would die on the freeway for no reason. You
would have to pull to the side of the road, close all of the windows, shut
off the car, restart it, and reopen the windows before you could continue.
For some reason you would simply accept this.
4. Occasionally, executing a maneuver such as a left turn would cause
your car to shut down and refuse to restart, in which case you would have to
reinstall the engine.
5. Macintosh would make a car that was powered by the sun, was
reliable, five times as fast and twice as easy to drive - but would run on
only five percent of the roads.
6. The oil, water temperature, and alternator warning lights would all
be replaced by a single "This Car Has Performed An Illegal Operation"
7. The airbag system would ask "Are you sure?" before deploying.
8. Occasionally, for no reason whatsoever, your car would lock you out
and refuse to let you in until you simultaneously lifted the door handle,
turned the key and grabbed hold of the radio antenna
9. Every time a new car was introduced car buyers would have to learn how to drive all over again because none of the controls would operate in the same manner as the old car.
10. You'd have to press the "Start" button to turn the engine off.