Thursday, February 16, 2006

The Stella Awards

It's time again for the annual "Stella Awards" for the most outlandish lawsuits and verdicts that happened in the U.S. during 2005. (full story in comments)

thanks Becky

4 Comments:

At 2/16/2006 11:10 AM, Blogger Schroger said...

Three-way tie for 5th 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 running toddler was Ms. Robertson's son.                                           
Also in 5th place is Carl Truman, 19, of Los Angeles, California, who 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.       

Also in 5th Place is Terrence Dickson, of Bristol, Pennsylvania, who was escaping a house he had just robbed by way of the garage. The automatic garage door opener malfunctioned and wouldn't open. He couldn't re-enter the house because the door connecting the garage to the house locked when Dickson pulled it shut.  Forced to subsist for 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. The jury said the insurance company must pay Dickson $500,000 for his anguish.                                 

4th place is Jerry Williams, of Little Rock, Arkansas, who 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 it's 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 shooting the dog with a pellet gun.                             
3rd place went to Amber Carson of Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  A Philadelphia restaurant was ordered to pay her $113,500 after she slipped on soft drink and broke her tailbone (coccyx). The reason the soft drink was on the floor: 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 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.                                                                  
This year's 1st place winner is 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. The motor home left the freeway, crashed and overturned. 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 $1,750,000 plus a new motor home. Winnebago actually changed their manuals as a result of this suit.

 
At 2/16/2006 3:44 PM, Blogger melissa said...

I've heard the cruise control one before. I don't believe it.

 
At 2/16/2006 4:23 PM, Blogger ThomG said...

Yeah, I thought the cruise control story was an urban legend.

But props to Merv (short for Mervel, Mervine???) for representing OK so well.

 
At 2/20/2006 11:36 AM, Blogger jules said...

by Randy Cassingham
Issued 31 January 2006

#7: Bob Dougherty. A prankster smeared glue on the toilet seat at the Home Depot store in Louisville, Colo., causing Dougherty to stick to it when he sat down. "This is not Home Depot's fault," he proclaimed, yet the store graciously offered him $2,000 anyway. Dougherty complained the offer is "insulting" and filed suit demanding $3 million.

#6: Barbara Connors of Medfield, Mass. Connors was riding in a car driven by her 70-year-old(!) son-in-law when they crashed into the Connecticut River, and Connors sank with the car. Rescue divers arrived within minutes and got her out alive, but Connors suffered brain damage from her near-drowning. Sue the driver? Sure, we guess that's reasonable. But she also sued the brave rescue workers who risked their lives to save hers.

#5: Michelle Knepper of Vancouver, Wash. Knepper picked a doctor out of the phone book to do her liposuction, and went ahead with the procedure even though the doctor was only a dermatologist, not a plastic surgeon. After having complications, she complained she never would have chosen that doctor had she known he wasn't Board Certified in the procedure. (She relied on the phonebook listing over asking the doctor, or looking for a certificate on his wall?!) So she sued ...the phone company! She won $1.2 million plus $375,000 for her husband for "loss of spousal services and companionship."

#4: Rhonda Nichols. She says a wild bird "attacked" her outside a home improvement store in Fairview Heights, Ill., causing head injuries. That's right: outside the store. Yet Nichols still held the Lowe's store responsible for "allowing" wild birds to fly around free in the air. She never reported the incident to the store, but still sued for "at least" $100,000 in damages. In January 2006, the case was thrown out of court.

#3: Barnard Lorence of Stuart, Fla. Lorence managed to overdraw his own bank account. When the bank charged him a service fee for the overdraft, he filed suit over his "stress and pain" and loss of sleep over the fee. A few hundred thousand bucks, he says, will only amount to a "slap on the wrist", whereas the $2 million he's suing for is more like being "paddled". Kinky!

#2: Wanita "Renea" Young of Durango, Colo. Two neighborhood teens baked cookies for their neighbors as an anonymous gesture of good will, but Young got scared when she heard them on her front porch. They apologized, in writing, but Young sued them anyway for causing her distress, demanding $3,000. When she won(!!) $900, she crowed about it in the newspaper and on national TV. Now, she's shocked (shocked!) that everyone in town hates her for her spite, and is afraid she may have to move. But hey: she won.

And the winner of the 2005 True Stella Award: Christopher Roller of Burnsville, Minn. Roller is mystified by professional magicians, so he sued David Blaine and David Copperfield to demand they reveal their secrets to him -- or else pay him 10 percent of their lifelong earnings, which he figures amounts to $50 million for Copperfield and $2 million for Blaine. The basis for his suit: Roller claims that the magicians defy the laws of physics, and thus must be using "godly powers" -- and since Roller is god (according to him), they're "somehow" stealing that power from him.

 

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