> It's time once again to review the winners of the > annual "Stella Awards." The Stella's are named after > 81-year-old Stella Liebeck who > spilled hot coffee on herself and successfully sued > McDonalds. That case inspired the Stella awards for > the most frivolous, but successful > lawsuits in the United States. > > Unfortunately, the most recent lawsuit implicating > McDonalds b the teens who allege that eating at > McDonalds has made them fat - was filed after the > 2002 award voting was closed. This suit will top the > 2003 list without question. > > 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 > amok 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: > > A 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 that 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 reenter 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 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 nightclub 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 Mr. Merv Grazinski of > Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Mr. Grazinski purchased a > brand new 32-foot Winnebago motor > home. On his first trip home, (from an OU football > game), having driven onto the freeway, he set the > cruise control at 70 mph and calmly left > the drivers seat to go into the back and make himself > a cup of coffee. Not surprisingly, the RV left the > freeway, crashed and overturned. Mr. > Grazinski sued Winnebago for not advising him in the > owner's manual that he couldn't actually do this. The > jury awarded him $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 buying their > recreational vehicles.