[EDIT: 01/26/2005: Ethesis and Michael, a first time commenter here, both pointed out that the Stellas are largely urban legends. See Michael's comment to this redacted post for links to some information about that. I wondered about that when I got the email but went ahead and posted them here without double-checking. Thanks guys!]:
(The Stella’s are named after 81-year old Stella Liebeck… who spilled
coffee on herself and successfully sued McDonald’s. That case inspired
the Stella awards for the most frivolous successful lawsuits in the
Here are this year’s winners.
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
little toddler was Ms. Robertson’s son.
5th Place (tie):
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.
5th Place (tie):
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
andgarage locked when he pulled it shut. The family was on vacation, and
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 $500,000.
Jerry Williams of Little Rock, Arkansas, was awarded $14,500 and
medical expenses after being bitten on the buttocks by his next door
The beagle was on a chain in its owner’s fenced 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 had climbed over the
fence into the yard and was shooting it repeatedly with a pellet gun.
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 (tailbone). The beverage was on the floor because Ms. Carson had
thrown it at her boyfriend 30 seconds earlier during an argument.
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
This year’s run away winner was Mrs Merv Grazinski of Oklahoma City,
Oklahoma. Mrs. Grazinski purchased a brand new 32-foot Winnebago
motorhome. On her first trip home, (from an OU football game), having
driven onto the freeway, she set the cruise control at 70 mph and calmly
left the drivers seat to go into the back make herself a sandwich. Not
surprisingly, the RV left the freeway, crashed and overturned.
Mrs.Grazinski sued Winnebago for not advising her in the owner’s manual
that she couldn’t actually do this. The jury awarded her $1,750,000 plus
a new motor home. The company actually changed their manuals on the
basis of this suit, just in case there were any other complete morons