The Stella Awards For 2003
It's once again time to review the winners of the annual Stella awards. The Stella's
are named after 81-year-old Stella Liebeck who spilled coffee on herself and successfully sued McDonalds.
That case inspired the Stella Awards for the most frivolous successful lawsuits in the United States.
6th Place 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 did not notice
there was someone at the wheel of the car when he was trying to steal the hubcaps.
5th Place Terrence Dickson of Bristol Pennsylvania was leaving a house he had
just finished robbing by way of the garage door. He was not able to get the garage door to go up since the
automatic door opener was malfunctioning. He could not 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 8 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 dog. 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 a little provoked at the time as Mr. Williams, who had climbed over the fence into the yard, 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
2nd Place Kara Walton of Claymont, Delaware sued the owner of a nightclub
in a neighbouring city when she fell from the bathroom window to the floor and knocked out two of her front
teeth. This occurred whilst Ms. Walton was trying to crawl in through the window of 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 new Winnebago motorhome. On his 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 could not actually do this.
The jury awarded him $1,750,000 plus a new Winnebago 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 recreation
And The Above Stella Awards Are A HOAX!
The REAL Stella Awards For 2003
There is a real Stella Liebeck who did spill coffee on herself and did sue McDonalds. But
the facts are not usually published, check out
the Liebeck/McDonalds URL. And here are the REAL
7th Place Shawn Perkins of Laurel, Ind. Perkins was hit by lightning in the
parking lot Paramount's Kings Island amusement park in Mason, Ohio. A classic "act of God", right? No, says
Perkins' lawyer. "That would be a lot of people's knee-jerk reaction in these types of situations." The lawyer
has filed suit against the amusement park asking unspecified damages, arguing the park should have "warned"
people not to be outside during a thunderstorm.
6th Place Caesar Barber, 56, of New York City. Barber, who is 5-foot-10 and
270 pounds, says he is obese, diabetic, and suffers from heart disease because fast food restaurants forced
him to eat their fatty food four to five times per week. He filed suit against McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's
and KFC, who "profited enormously" and asked for unspecified damages because the eateries didn't warn him that
junk food isn't good for him. The judge threw the case out twice, and barred it from being filed a third time.
Is that the end of such McCases? No way: lawyers will just find another plaintiff and start over, legal
5th Place Cole Bartiromo, 18, of Mission Viejo, Calif. After making over
$1 million in the stock market, the feds made Bartiromo pay it all back: he gained his profits, they said,
using fraud. Bartiromo played baseball at school, but after his fraud case broke he was no longer allowed to
participate in extracurricular sports. Bartiromo clearly learned a lot while sitting in federal court: he wrote
and filed his own lawsuit against his high school, reasoning that he had planned on a pro baseball career but,
because he was kicked off the school's team, pro scouts wouldn't be able to discover him. His suit demands the
school reimburse him for the great salary he would have made in the majors, which he figures is $50 million.
4th Place Priest David Hanser, 70. Hanser was one of the first Catholic priests
to be caught up in the sex abuse scandal. In 1990, he settled a suit filed by one of his victims for $65,000.
In the settlement, Hanser agreed not to work with children anymore, but the victim learned that Hanser was
ignoring that part of the agreement. The victim appealed to the church, asking it to stop Hanser from working
near children, but the church would not intervene. "It's up to the church to decide where he works," argued the
priest's lawyer. When the outraged victim went to the press to warn the public that a pedo priest was near
children, Hanser sued him for the same $65,000 because he violated his own part of the deal -- to keep the
settlement secret. The message is clear: shut up about outrageous abuse, or we'll sue you for catching us.
3rd PlaceWanda Hudson, 44, of Mobile, Ala. After Hudson lost her home to
foreclosure, she moved her belongings to a storage unit. She says she was inside her unit one night "looking
for some papers" when the storage yard manager found the door to her unit ajar -- and locked it. She denies
that she was sleeping inside, but incredibly did not call for help or bang on the door to be let out! She was
not found for 63 days and barely survived; the formerly "plump" 150-pound woman lived on food she just happened
to have in the unit, and was a mere 83 pounds when she was found. She sued the storage yard for $10 million
claiming negligence. Even though the jury was not allowed to learn that Hudson had previously diagnosed mental
problems, it found Hudson was nearly 100 percent responsible for her own predicament -- but still awarded her
2nd Place Doug Baker, 45, of Portland, Ore. Baker says God "steered" him to a
stray dog. He admits "People thought I was crazy" to spend $4,000 in vet bills to bring the injured mutt back
to health, but hey, it was God's dog! But $4,000 was nothing: he couldn't even take his girlfriend out to
dinner without getting a dog-sitter to watch him. When the skittish dog escaped the sitter, Baker didn't just
put an ad in the paper, he bought display ads so he could include a photo. His business collapsed since he
devoted full time to the search for the dog. He didn't propose to his girlfriend because he wanted the dog to
deliver the ring to her. He hired four "animal psychics" to give him clues to the animal's whereabouts, and
hired a witch to cast spells. He even spread his own urine around to "mark his territory" to try to lure the
dog home! And, he said, he cried every day. Two months in to the search, he went looking for the dog where it
got lost -- and quickly found it. His first task: he put a collar on the mutt. (He hadn't done that before for
a dog that was so "valuable"?!) After finding the dog, he sued the dog sitter, demanding $20,000 for the cost
of his search, $30,000 for the income he lost by letting his business collapse, $10,000 for "the temporary
loss of the special value" of the dog, and $100,000 in "emotional damages" -- $160,000 total. God has not
been named as a defendant.
1st Place And the winner of the 2003 True Stella Awards: The City of Madera,
Calif. Madera police officer Marcy Noriega had the suspect from a minor disturbance handcuffed in the back of
her patrol car. When the suspect started to kick at the car's windows, Officer Noriega decided to subdue him
with her Taser. Incredibly, instead of pulling her stun gun from her belt, she pulled her service sidearm and
shot the man in the chest, killing him instantly. The city, however, says the killing is not the officer's
fault; it argues that "any reasonable police officer" could "mistakenly draw and fire a handgun instead of the
Taser device" and has filed suit against Taser, arguing the company should pay for any award from the wrongful
death lawsuit the man's family has filed. What a slur against every professionally trained police officer who
knows the difference between a real gun and a stun gun! And what a cowardly attempt to escape responsibility
for the actions of its own under-trained officer.
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On a train, Smith, Robinson & Jones are the firreman, brakeman, and engineer but NOT
respectively also aboard the train are three businessman who have the same names;
Mr. Smith, a Mr. Robinson and a Mr. Jones.
1. Mr Robinson lives in Detroit
2. The brakeman lives halfway between Chicago and Detroit
3. Mr Jones earns exactly $20,000per year
4. The brakeman's nearest neighbour, one of the passengers, earns exactly three time as much as the brakeman.
5. Smith beats the fireman at billiards.
6.The passenger whose name is the same as as the brakeman lives in Chicago
WHO IS THE ENGINEER?
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My dog Toby and I walk about 3 miles every day and to break the
drudgery I go to many different areas. Occasionally we walk near a stand of trees where there is a small clearing
and a dozen or so beehives. We avoid the area in the warm weather but in January we went there on a sunny day and
noticed a significant number of dead bees on the snow - hence the picture. But why all the dead bees? I remembered
that Jack Penney had kept bees for several years so I sent him the following:
"Jack... I walk my dog every day and every month or so we walk near a group of beehives. They are all
'winterized' hives but one sunny day in January many got out, flew around and froze (as the picture attests). Last
week we were walking in the area (about 200 feet away in a clearing separated by a copse of tress) and honest to
God, several bees simply "dropped" out of the sky into the snow beside me. What gives? Do bees get fooled by
warm or sunny weather?" And here's Jack's reply:
Bees are very clean and keep the inside of the hive the same way so they fly out to defecate
and don't get back in because they are the older and weaker ones. At season's end the entire operation has
approximately 100,000 bees in the colony. The worker bees are all females and they don't lose any time getting
rid of the drones (males), cutting the population in half. The remainder hover around the queen, keeping her warm.
They do this keeping their wings in constant motion, acting, to a degree, like a heating ventilation system. The
stronger bees work around the queen and as they tire, they move to the outside of the ball, head out and you have
seen the result. When the hives are opened, in the spring, the colony is down to a population of approximately
4 or 5 thousand.
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This site was last updated: December 12, 2005
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