2006 Stella Awards

2006 STELLA Awards
> >
> >Time once again to review the winners of the Annual "Stella Awards." The
> >Stella Awards are named after 81 year-old Stella Liebeck who spilled hot
> >coffee on herself and successfully sued McDonald's (in NM). That case
> >inspired the Stella Awards for the most frivolous, ridiculous, successful
> >lawsuits in the United States
> >Here are this year's winners:
> >5th Place (tie):
> >
> >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 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
> >was trying to steal his neighbor's hubcaps.
> >
> >5th Place (tie):
> >Terrence Dickson of Bristol, Pennsylvania, was leaving a house he had
> >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 and
> >garage 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
> >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. In my opinion
> >this is so outrageous that it should have been 2nd Place!
> >
> >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
> >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
> >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 expenses
> >
> >1st Place:
> >
> >This year's runaway winner was Mrs. Merv Grazinski of Oklahoma City,
> >Oklahoma. Mrs. Grazinski purchased a brand new 32-foot Winnebago motor
> >home. 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
> >driver's 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
> >motor home. The company actually changed their manuals on the basis of
> >suit, just in case there were any other complete morons around
Summary of eRumor
This email lists seven alleged court decisions in various states in the U.S. that awarded large cash awards to people under apparently absurd circumstances, including occasions when they were responsible for their own injury or loss. Later versions say these court cases have won the "Stella Award," named after an elderly woman who won a large award from a lawsuit against McDonalds's.

The Truth
TruthOrFiction.com has checked court records and news archives for the cities mentioned, and have not found any documentation for any of these stories.

When this eRumor started circulating, we didn't find anything that resembled the "Stella Awards," but there is a group that has now started such an award at www.stellaawards.com (external - login to view).

The court case involving Stella Liebeck is true and is widely known because of it being the little old lady who got millions because of what seemed like a small incident.

She spilled hot coffee on herself after the drive-through at a McDonald's in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
She was sitting in the passenger seat of her grandson's car.
The spill caused severe burns over 6 percent of her body.
She spent a week in the hospital, underwent several skin drafts, and ended up with permanent scarring on 15 percent of her body.
According to the Washington State Trial Lawyer's Association, Liebeck sued McDonalds only after the company refused to pay her medical expenses.
The WSTLA says her bills added up to $11,000, but McDonalds offered to pay only $800.
A mediator recommended a $250,000 settlement, which McDonald's turned down.
One of the issues in the trial was that Liebeck's lawyers said there had been several hundred similar cases that McDonald's had ignored and that the company had refused to reduce the temperature of the coffee machines.
A jury gave Stella Liebeck $160,000 but also fined McDonald's a punitive damage of $2.7 million.
A judge later reduced that amount to $480,000 then McDonald's settled out of court for an undisclosed amount.
After doing a bit more research, I've found that the rest of the stories, while entertaining, are mainly BS.

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