The Stella Awards have come and gone and I’ll bet you didn’t even know it. Okay, I didn’t know about it either. Turns out, the Stella Awards recognize the marriage between supreme stupidity and our judicial system. They are named after Stella Liebeck, the eighty-one year old woman who successfully sued McDonald’s after spilling hot coffee on herself. We all remember that moment in lawsuit history.
Oh, lets not forget that Stella REMOVED the lid of the cup. In her lap. In a car. What could possible go wrong? Who would have ever dreamed the scalding coffee would spill in her lap? I think we’re all in agreement here that the New Mexico courts did the right thing by awarding Poor Stella $2.86 MILLION dollars. In all fairness, let me say though, that the compensatory and punitive damages were reduced to a final walk-away total of only $680,000 dollars. Also, let me mention here that Stella was a passenger in the car, driven by her grandson, who had pulled over to allow Grandma to add cream and sugar to her coffee. While attempting to remove the lid, the contents spilled onto Stella’s lap, causing severe burns. So, that said, it was really her dopey grandson who allowed an old lady (who very well might not have had a steady hand to begin with) to remove the lid in order to doctor up her drink. I mean, there are just WAY too many things wrong with that scenario. Anyone who has ever ordered a cup of McDonald’s coffee knows full well that it is served at approximately 8000 degrees Farenheit and takes roughly twelve days to cool enough to actually ingest. So, knowing that, the court should have seen that it was really Stella’s supremely stupid grandson at fault to allow MeeMaw to do such a dangerous thing as open the lid on a cup of McDonald’s coffee. In a car. Between her LEGS. Yes, the courts should have done the right thing and awarded HIM the dough. Oh well, life’s not always fair.
In honor of Stella and her windfall, the Stella Awards were born. And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for…this year’s Stella Award Recipients:
SEVENTH PLACEKathleen 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. Start scratching!SIXTH PLACECarl 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.
Scratch some more…FIFTH PLACETerrence 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 Keep scratching. There are more…Double hand scratching after this one.FOURTH PLACEJerry 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.
Pick a new spot to scratch, you’re getting a bald spot..THIRD PLACEAmber 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. Only two more so ease up on the scratching…SECOND PLACEKara 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 lady’s 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.Ok. Here we go!!FIRST PLACEThis 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?$1,750,000PLUS 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.Moral of this story?? It pays (BIG) to be stupid…