Friday, March 19, 2010

Stella Started It

I have to be honest, I didn't realize that Stella Liebeck's fame was so incredible that awards have now been named after her. Does anyone else remember 79-year old, Stella, who sued McDonald's in 1992 for the coffee-spilling incident? There are a lot of debates whether or not she was driving when it spilled, how much she sued for or what actually happend. My original thoughts regarding the awards named after this woman were, "C'mon Stella! Can't you get some control over your dang coffee?!" Rumors say: After she got in her car, she took the lid off her 49-cent, hot coffee and held it between her knees while she was driving. What did she think would happen? Well, spilling Stella won. The jury awarded her 2.86 million dollars, but she ended up with a total (awarded by the judge) of a whopping $640,000.00. Since I actually decided to blog about Stella & some real half-wit people, I looked a little further into Stella's case -- Of course, no one really knows the "facts" of what happened, except for the little spiller herself, but I actually feel really bad for her! I guess she was scalded pretty bad! I would be devastated if my Grandma was burned by coffee (and it wasn't even Starbucks!). 

Stella Liebeck vs. McDonald's
Thanks to Stella, other idiots have proceeded to file lawsuits for some of the most ridiculous things I have ever heard of. This brings us to "The Stella Awards". I received this my friend, Tiffany who forwarded this to me in an e-mail, today. Plus, I added a few award-winners from a couple years ago that couldn't be missed. This totally made my day.
  • 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 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.
  • Shawn Perkins was hit by lightning in the parking lot Paramount's Kings Island amusement park in Mason, Ohio. A classic "act of God", right? No, says Perkins' lawyer. "That would be a lot of people's knee-jerk reaction in these types of situations." The lawyer has filed suit against the amusement park asking unspecified damages, arguing the park should have "warned" people not to be outside during a thunderstorm. Wow.
  • Jerry Williams, of Little Rock, Arkansas 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.
  • 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.
  • The family of Robert Hornbeck. Hornbeck volunteered for the Army and served a stint in Iraq. After getting home, he got drunk, wandered into a hotel's service area (passing "DANGER" warning signs), crawled into an air conditioning unit, and was severely cut when the machinery activated. Unable to care for himself due to his drunkenness, he bled to death. A tragedy, to be sure, but one solely caused by a supposedly responsible adult with military training. Despite his irresponsible behavior -- and his perhaps criminal trespassing -- Hornbeck's family sued the hotel for $10 million, as if it's reasonably foreseeable that some drunk fool would ignore warning signs and climb into its heavy duty machinery to sleep off his bender.
  • 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?
  • 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.
  • And finally, one of the biggest idiots and well-known Stella Award-Winners: Mr. Merv Grazinski of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, who purchased a new 32-foot Winnebago motor home. On his first trip home, from an OU football game, having driven on to the freeway, he set the cruise control at 70 mph and calmly left the driver’s seat to go to the back of the Winnebago to make himself a sandwich. Not surprisingly, the motor home left the freeway, crashed and overturned. Also not surprisingly, Mr. Grazinski sued Winnebago for not putting in the owner’s manual that he couldn’t actually leave the driver’s seat while the cruise control was set. The Oklahoma jury awarded him $1,750,000 PLUS a new motor home. Winnebago actually changed their manuals as a result of this suit, just in case Mr. Grazinski has any relatives who might also buy a motor home.
I thought it would only be appropriate to shoot for my own Stella Award and perhaps win some big bucks in the process. Justin and I were trying to brainstorm some "unintentional" efforts we might come up with. Maybe if I slammed my fingers in my car door, I could sue Acura for not putting it in the manual to "watch my fingers" when closing the door? Or maybe I could go to a piercing-loud rock concert, hug the speakers all night, and then sue the speaker company because I went deaf. Or, I could just use the camera on my blackberry when I go snorkeling for underwater-pictures, and file a suit against blackberry for not informing me that my phone shouldn't be used for underwater photography. These people are ridiculous to think they can get away with such absurd lawsuits - but what's worse, is the jury and judge are actually falling for it. Hmm.


[Original sources are debatable. I'm sure many of the "awards" could have been fabricated, since these come from forwarded emails and things like that. Whatevs.. Still hysterical and enjoyable to shake my head at these people, if any of it is true! Additional sources - Stella Awards, photo source]

1 comment:

  1. omg, alanna! that was hilarious. i can't believe what some people think they deserve to be rewarded for their own poor judgement


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