Jokey Joke: It’s Time Again For The Annual ‘Stella Awards’!


For those unfamiliar with the Stella 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 the 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. So keep your head scratcher handy.

Here are the Stella’s for the past year:

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.

Go ahead, grab your head scratcher.

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.

Keep scratching. There are more …

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.

Grrrrr. Scratch, scratch.

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. What ever happened to people being responsible for their own actions?

Scratch, scratch, scratch. Hang in there; there are only two more Stellas to go…

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.

1ST PLACE: (May I have a fanfare played on 50 kazoos please)

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 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. 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.

Are we, as a society, getting more stupid…? Ya Think??!!

More than a few of our judge’s elevators don’t go to the top floor, either!

7 thoughts on “Jokey Joke: It’s Time Again For The Annual ‘Stella Awards’!”

  1. Hopefully you are putting this in the jokey joke section because you realize this entire article is untrue. None of these cases were real (with the exception of the McDonald’s case cited at the beginning).

  2. This is what [email protected] me off about people who write articals like this one. YOU NEVER GET THE STORY RIGHT!!!! The woman that suited McDonalds did not take the lid off of the cup, it was never securely placed on the cup in the first place…. As a result, when Stella placed the cup between her legs, the top popped completely off, & the HOT coffee cause second & third degree burns to her legs…. PEOPLE; Don’t believe the hipe, research what REALLY HAPPEN, from the court transcripts. Then & only then will you understand why the jurors awarded her the recovery they did. And NO, I am not an attorney!

  3. OH my god, this tired story has been going around SINCE 2001! None of them were true then and none of them are true now.

    Don’t any of you writers EVER ever check out the veractiy or at least BEFORE you pass unverified crap along.
    Do 30 seconds of research, it will keep you from looking like total moron.

  4. The woman in the McDonald’s case should have got NOTHING. When I order a hot beverage I make sure the lid securely on it myself. Common sense tells you not to place a scolding cup of liquip between your legs.

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