We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Sunday, December 31. 2006
It's time once again to review the winners of the Annual "Stella Awards." The Stella Awards, which are not genuine awards but just lists of real cases someone compiles, 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. Clever lawyers, or brain-dead juries? We report - you decide. 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 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 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 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. 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 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
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
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 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 the drivers 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 new motor home. The company actually changed their
manuals on the basis of this suit, just in case there were any other
complete morons around.
Display comments as (Linear | Threaded)
I'm no lawyer., but how do such meritless cases ever get in front of a jury to begin with? Once in front of a jury, it's old deep-pockets industry against helpless loser, so why not do a little 'corrective' transfer? But, what court ever lets such rank robbery gain purchase in the system?
Happy New Year Buddy. Let's hope for some sold forward progress across the board!
Oops I just hurt my little finger on the keyboard wishing you, Buddy Larsen, a Happy (ouch,ooo,hurt,pain)New(room spinning losing cons)Yerp.
scc ya in quart. (on floor doubled over in pain, wife now filming)
I keep wondering where Mr. Gazinski was? On the toilet? Or dead? Or what?
These Stellas are urban legends. http://www.snopes.com/legal/lawsuits.asp
See? That's what I mean. Now i owe habu at least the standard pinkie $100K.
I think I'll beat the "mental anguish" charge (what's to 'anguish'?).
HNY to you and the (sainted) missus!
To the Barrister: Mr. Gazinski, I'm sure, was well aware of the Mrs's driving mind-set and probably chose to take Amtrak.
I can see how #'s 2 > 5 show how the Law is an ass but #1 is by far the winner and a soon-to-be hands-down winner of a Darwin Award, if she keeps up the good work!
A great read and a Happy 2007 to all!
Mr. Gazinski was probably sitting in the passenger seat, reading the NYTimes, waiting for the Auto-Pilot to kick in.
Maybe they are but then neither one of us can prove we exists so whats the point?
Happy New Year!!!
In fact this isn't me because I'm in too much pain to type after Buddy Larsen extracted a Happy New Year from me!!
Wait, now I can't hear..this came on right after wishing you a Happy New Year ..oh lawdy i'm fee'n so poorly
In fact. Mr. Gazinski is probably still in the Winnebago, next to the busted guardrail, upside down in his seat belt, finishing up the Paul Krugman column.
"Honey, it's been eleven months, are you ever coming out of the bathroom?"
Snopes? Who believes Snopes? Stellas deserve to exist, and Snopes cannot undo that.
Snopes was, IIRC, the name of the defendant in the famous "Monkey Trial" where Clarence Darrow & William Jennings Bryan went head-to-head on the issue of Evolution. I think Gregory Peck was in on it, too, somehow.
scratch that--it was "Scopes". sorry for the site litter.
Scopes Monkey Trial... Spencer Tracy,Fredric March and Gene Kelly as the most famous writer of that era, H.L. Menchen.
Inherit the Wind, a great movie. It was nominated for four Academy Awards but it didn't have a car chase in it so it lost.
Buddy et. al.
Here's a list of top Econ sites rated by Forbes.
These sites are only to be used if you are really really tired of reading about String Theory.
"Inherit the Wind" --great title for a William Jennings Bryan movie, as he was the early proponent of unbacked fait currency. Of course, he had his reasons--farmers couldn't borrow much o that hard money. The Great Depression kind of vindicated him, I guess.
Well, I was suppose to party with Paris and Britney in a New Years Eve blowout but now with my injured finger I don't think I can get the Cialis bottle open, so I'm not going.
Actually I rarely make it to midnight sice I have to get up early to milk the cows.
Buddy, I'll probably see you sporatically here in '07 as I have resolved to do less blogging. I'll vanish from the EB totally,but I do enjoy your style and will drop in.
Once again have a great new year. Habu
Happy New Years Eve to you all!
Lurked here awhile, found the conversation - well - oddly conversational. That's something unique in an Internet full of mudslingers.
Its obvious that frivolous and ridiculous lawsuits present their own kind of harm to society. They've drove OBGYNs out of PA and IL, most of them opting to become gynecologists, for instance. Obviously not limited to that either.
But why associating tort reform with Stella Liebeck? Her case suggested something needed reform, but I'm not sure if its Tort...
No idea what else you'd call the award. As the idea of Stella spread, it became something different and derivative, I suppose. So maybe you're not critical of her, only of de facto legitimacy granted to "lady that sued McDonalds for staining her dress."
Absolutely agree that we need tort reform (how about talking about John Edwards going after OBs?), but citing the McDonald's coffee case is a bad place to start. That lady got 3rd-degree burns on 6% of her body. She spent days in the hospital, undergoing skin grafts. All she asked for was $20,000 to cover her medical bills.
Here's the kicker -- McDonald's had had numerous (over 700) complaints about people being burned with their coffee before, some of them with 3rd-degree burns.
McDonald's kept its coffee at 180 to 190 degrees. Other restaurants served at a much lower temperature. At home, people serve coffee at about 135 degrees. At 180 degrees, liquids burn human skin in 2 to 7 seconds.
Read the whole story: http://www.lectlaw.com/files/cur78.htm
Dangit, class-factotum, don't bother me with the facts! LOL--ok, you're right, but the fact remains that something is askew in the nation's ability to control tort abuse. I hope it's not that the congress is all lawyers.
Habu--Paris & Britney said to be sure and 'hi'! We had a quiet evening at the disco, discussing Wittgenstein, as usual.
Speaking of John Edwards, he's been on my tv I think twice, since announcing for office, and I'm already dizzy and nauseous with the near-parodic insincerity.
Be assured that you are correct. The "Stella's" have become standard 'net fare, and the Grazinski story is thoroughly debunked by snopes at the link below:
Let's save our outrage for the abuses engendered by the legal system for those instances which can actually be shown to exist in an objective reality. I don't CARE about the color of the sky on "your" planet.