don't rob a convenience store, assault the owner, walk through middle of traffic, disobey then assault a police officer, and flee the scene of the crime... while high on drugs. Apparently that leads to people burning your neighborhood down.
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 coffee. You remember, she took the lid off the coffee and put it between her knees while she was driving. Who would ever think one could get burned doing that, right? That's right; these are awards for the most outlandish lawsuits and verdicts in the U.S. You know, the kinds of cases that make you scratch your head.
Here are the Stellas for year -- 2013:
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 and survive 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.
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.
Amber Carson of Lancaster, Pennsylvania received 3rd place 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.
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.
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 Okla.Uni. 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.
BP captured more than 8,000 barrels of oil Saturday--about a third less
than on Thursday--after restarting a drillship that had been shut down
Friday night. BP said the return to full capacity will be cautious. wsj
named Bud was overseeing his herd in a remote mountainous pasture in Wyoming
when suddenly a brand-new BMW advanced toward him out of a cloud of dust..
The driver, a young man in a Brioni suit, Gucci shoes, RayBan sunglasses and
YSL tie, leaned out the window and asked the cowboy, "If I tell you
exactly how many cows and calves you have in your herd, will you give me a
Bud looks at the man, obviously a yuppie, then looks at his peacefully
grazing herd and calmly answers, "Sure, Why not?"
The yuppie parks his car, whips out his Dell notebook computer, connects it
to his Cingular RAZR V3 cell phone, and surfs to a NASA page on the Internet,
where he calls up a GPS satellite to get an exact fix on his location which
he then feeds to another NASA satellite that scans the area in an
The young man then opens the digital photo in Adobe Photoshop and exports it
to an image processing facility in Hamburg , Germany ..
Within seconds, he receives an email on his Palm Pilot that the image has
been processed and the data stored. He then accesses an MS-SQL database
through an ODBC connected Excel spreadsheet with email on his Blackberry and,
after a few minutes, receives a response.
Finally, he prints out a full-color, 150-page report on his hi-tech,
miniaturized HP LaserJet printer, turns to the cowboy and says, "You
have exactly 1,586 cows and calves."
"That's right. Well, I guess you can take one of my calves," says
He watches the young man select one of the animals and looks on with
amusement as the young man stuffs it into the trunk of his car.
Then Bud says to the young man, "Hey, if I can tell you exactly what
your business is, will you give me back my calf?"
The young man thinks about it for a second and then says, "Okay, why
"You're a Congressman for the U.S. Government", says Bud.
"Wow! That's correct," says the yuppie, "but how did you guess
"No guessing required." answered the cowboy. "You showed up here
even though nobody called you; you want to get paid for an answer I already
knew, to a question I never asked. You used millions of dollars worth of
equipment trying to show me how much smarter than me you are; and you don't
know a thing about how working people make a living - or about cows, for that
matter. This is a herd of sheep...
Now give me back my dog.