Stella Awards

January 25, 2005

[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
United States.)

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.

4th Place:

Jerry Williams of Little Rock, Arkansas, was awarded $14,500 and
medical expenses after being bitten on the buttocks by his next door
neighbor’s beagle.

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.

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
coccyx (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, 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

1st Place:

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

Happy Birthday Jordan!

January 25, 2005

Jordan hits the big 30 today! Congratulations and Happy Birthday! Studying for the Texas bar–what a way to celebrate your thirtieth birthday. Good luck!

A sweepboy in the House of the Lord

January 25, 2005

Not too long ago, I wondered what would become of lawyers during Christ’s millenial reign. Just a few days later, I had an experience which whispered to my heart that it does not really matter what becomes of lawyers- or of any profession for that matter.

First of all, let me explain. My pride did not want the “skills” I learned in law school to be useless. Above all, I personally don’t want to feel useless. Since I don’t really know how to make anything, or how to do anything very practical (like bow-hunting, ninja-arts, or computer hacking, for example), I sometimes worry that I will just be a useless parasite on society.

A few nights ago, I had the opportunity to help deep clean inside the Dallas temple. It was a great experience. As I swept up the ventilation room, the thought occurred to me that it does not much matter if my skills as a lawyer or whatever else would be relevant. If I am willing to work, and I will be, then I am sure there will be something to do. It no longer seems to matter if that work is considered prestigious in the eyes of others. Will ambition, other than an ambition, motivated by true love, to serve well wherever called, really profit anyone during that time? It seems not.

Indeed, I would happily be a sweep boy in the House of the Lord during that time, if that is what were asked of me.