The Stella Awards

Mudge – the WP Dad – sent me an e-mail with a list of the Stella Award winners. The awards, named for Stella Liebeck, are given yearly to those who somehow managed to win court cases and damages for really dumb stuff. In many cases the plaintiff was the cause of the injury or incident that caused them harm, physical or emotional.

In case you aren't familiar with Stella Liebeck, you might be familiar with her lawsuit. In 1992, Stella, then 79, spilled a cup of McDonald's coffee onto her lap, burning herself. A New Mexico jury awarded her $2.9 million in damages. While many have lambasted the judgment of the court, Stella has been wrongly abused by many out there.

Getting back to the e-mail from Mudge, the list he forwarded to me turned out to be bogus. Even so, they sounded pretty interesting. However, I have the real list for the 2005 Stella Awards, released back in January 2006.

2005 Runners-Up and Winner:

#7: Bob Dougherty. A prankster smeared glue on the toilet seat at the
Home Depot store in Louisville, Colo., causing Dougherty to stick to
it when he sat down. "This is not Home Depot's fault," he proclaimed,
yet the store graciously offered him $2,000 anyway. Dougherty
complained that offer is "insulting" and filed suit demanding $3

#6: Barbara Connors of Medfield, Mass. Connors was riding in a car driven
by her 70-year-old(!) son-in-law when they crashed into the
Connecticut River, and Connors sank with the car. Rescue divers
arrived within minutes and got her out alive, but Connors suffered
brain damage from her near-drowning. Sue the driver? Sure, we guess
that's reasonable. But she also sued the brave rescue workers who
risked their lives to save hers.

#5: Michelle Knepper of Vancouver, Wash. Knepper picked a doctor out of
the phone book to do her liposuction, and went ahead with the
procedure even though the doctor was only a dermatologist, not a
plastic surgeon. After having complications, she complained she never
would have chosen that doctor had she known he wasn't Board Certified
in the procedure. (She relied on the phonebook listing over asking the
doctor, or looking for a certificate on his wall?!) So she sued ...the
phone company! She won $1.2 million PLUS $375,000 for her husband for
"loss of spousal services and companionship."

#4: Rhonda Nichols. She says a wild bird "attacked" her outside a home
improvement store in Fairview Heights, Ill., causing head injuries.
That's right: OUTSIDE the store. Yet Nichols still held the Lowe's
store responsible for "allowing" wild birds to fly around free in the
air. She never reported the incident to the store, but still sued for
"at least" $100,000 in damages. In January 2006, the case was thrown
out of court.

#3: Barnard Lorence of Stuart, Fla. Lorence managed to overdraw his own
bank account. When the bank charged him a service fee for the
overdraft, he filed suit over his "stress and pain" and loss of sleep
over the fee. A few hundred thousand bucks, he says, will only amount
to a "slap on the wrist", whereas the $2 million he's suing for is
more like being "paddled". Kinky!

#2: Wanita "Renea" Young of Durango, Colo. Two neighborhood teens baked
cookies for their neighbors as an anonymous gesture of good will, but
Young got scared when she heard them on her front porch. They
apologized, in writing, but Young sued them anyway for causing her
distress, demanding $3,000. When she won(!!) $900, she crowed about it
in the newspaper and on national TV. Now, she's shocked (shocked!)
that everyone in town hates her for her spite, and is afraid she may
have to move. But hey: she won.

AND THE WINNER of the 2005 Stella Award: Christopher Roller of
Burnsville, Minn. Roller is mystified by professional magicians, so he
sued David Blaine and David Copperfield to demand they reveal their
secrets to him -- or else pay him 10 percent of their lifelong
earnings, which he figures amounts to $50 million for Copperfield and
$2 million for Blaine. The basis for his suit: Roller claims that the
magicians defy the laws of physics, and thus must be using "godly
powers" -- and since ROLLER is god (according to him), they're
"somehow" stealing that power from him.

TO CONFIRM THE VALIDITY OF THESE CASES, get more information on the True
Stella Awards, or sign up for a free e-mail subscription to new cases
as they are issued, see http://www.StellaAwards.com/2005.html

Copyright 2006 www.StellaAwards.com . This message may be forwarded as
long as it remains complete and unaltered.

You've got to love the stupidity that sometimes manifests itself in our legal system.

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