The “Stella” awards

December 31, 2010 at 2:27 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Not sure if all these are factual — but I remember reading some of them in the news

Now it’s time again for the annual “Stella Awards.” For those unfamiliar with these awards, they are named after 81-year-old Stella Liebeck who spilled hot coffee on herself and successfully sued the McDonald’s in New Mexico, where she purchased coffee. She took the lid off the coffee and put it between her knees while she was driving away. Who would ever think one could get burned doing that, right?

These are awards for the most outlandish lawsuits and verdicts in the U.S.. You know, the kinds of cases that make you scratch your head and say WT#$@. So keep your head scratcher handy.

Here are the Stellas for the past year:

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 store owners were understandably surprised by the verdict, considering the running toddler was her own son.

Carl Truman, 19, of Los Angeles , California , won $74,000 plus medical expenses when his neighbor ran over his hand with a Honda Accord. This all came about as Carl apparently didn’t notice there was someone at the wheel of the car when he was trying to steal his neighbor’s hubcaps.

Terrence Dickson, of Bristol, Pennsylvania, had just burglarized a house and was exiting through the garage. Unfortunately for Dickson, the automatic garage door opener malfunctioned and he couldn’t get the garage door to open. Worse, he couldn’t re-enter the house because the door connecting the garage to the house locked when Dickson pulled it shut. Forced to sit for EIGHT days and survive on a case of Pepsi and a large bag of dry dog food, he sued the homeowner’s insurance company claiming undue mental anguish. Amazingly, the jury said the insurance company must pay Dickson $500,000 for his anguish!

Jerry Williams, of Little Rock, Arkansas, was awarded $14,500 plus medical expenses after being bitten on the butt by his next door neighbor’s beagle — even though the beagle was on a chain in its owner’s fenced yard. Williams did not get as much as he asked for because the jury believed the beagle might have been provoked at the time of the butt bite because Williams had climbed over the fence into the yard and repeatedly shot the dog with a pellet gun…

Amber Carson of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, got a jury to order a Philadelphia restaurant to pay her $113,500 after she slipped on a spilled soft drink and broke her tailbone. The reason the soft drink was on the floor: Ms. Carson had thrown it at her boyfriend 30 seconds earlier during an argument. Hmmm.

Kara Walton, of Claymont, Delaware, sued the owner of a night club in a nearby city because she fell from the bathroom window to the floor, knocking out her two front teeth. Ms. Walton acknowledged that she sneaking through the ladies room window to avoid paying the $3.50 cover charge. Despite that, the jury said the night club had to pay her $12,000 — plus dental expenses.

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THE NEWS

Odd news from around the world

British government issues divorce calculator: “A ‘divorce calculator’ to work out the cost of splitting up has been put online by the government leading to fears it will further erode the institution of marriage. The ‘My Divorce And Separation Calculator’ by the Consumer Financial Education Body quango is the first of its kind and helps couples draw up budgets, a review of debts and post-split financial scenarios. Users must enter their wages, outgoings, ingoings, mortgage payments and debts. They can also add their partner’s financial information to work out who will benefit most from the divorce. The calculator is specifically designed to help individuals assess the financial affects of divorce, separation or civil partnership.”

Turkey among odd items seized at Welsh airport: “A Christmas turkey, a goldfish, a butcher’s knife and a briefcase filled with bricks were named by security officials at Wales’ Cardiff Airport as the oddest things found in passengers’ hand luggage. The 10-pound turkey was set for a Spanish Christmas dinner table when officials found it in a passenger’s hand luggage. Although the flyer’s primary concern was whether the turkey would defrost in time, it was the last of their worries when the bird was confiscated and destroyed because it is illegal to take perishable foodstuffs abroad without prior permission. Another passenger’s attempts to take a goldfish on board were also thwarted. When they were told the fish would not be allowed on the plane as hand luggage, the person asked to check the animal in. Their request was declined. And travellers’ hold luggage did not fare any better. Security at the airport said odd items found included a chainsaw, two armchairs, a palm tree and five one litre cans of paint.”

Snail-pace police chase: “Police pursuits are more often than not at high speed. But when the cops spied an allegedly drunk driver near Newcastle this morning the chase barely got out of first gear. Officers were responding to reports of a noisy car being driven in Warners Bay about 1.30am (AEDT) when they latched onto a Mazda proceeding east on Charles St. As they approached on foot, the driver reversed the car in an apparent attempt to get away. That sparked a car chase through local streets at speeds of up to 40km/h in the 60km/h zone. The car finally stopped in a Charles St driveway where officers forced the driver out. Police allege a breath test showed him to be three-and-a-half times the legal drink-drive limit. They also say it is the third time he has been caught drink-driving in the past five weeks.”

New York snow: workers accused of go-slow in revenge for spending cuts: “Workers clearing the piles of snow that have paralysed parts of New York were told by bosses to “take their time” in revenge for public spending cuts, it has been alleged. Dan Halloran, a city councilman, said he had been approached by five city employees unhappy at the “go-slow” protest being mounted by some of their colleagues. The workers, whose identities Mr Halloran would not disclose, claimed some managers who were demoted to save money wanted to “send a message” to Michael Bloomberg, the city’s mayor. “These supervisors gave ploughers the green light to not tackle the storm aggressively,” Mr Halloran told The Daily Telegraph. “They were told ‘take your time and don’t rush’.”

New York snow: woman charged after giving teenagers rum: “A woman in New York has been accused of a criminal offence after giving rum to two teenagers who helped her shovel snow. Silvia Deleon, 41, was charged with two counts of unlawfully dealing with a minor after the pair, aged 17 and 18, were discovered in a “highly intoxicated state” and their parents called the police. David Chong, the public safety police commissioner in White Plains, New York, said the teenagers were passing and saw Ms Deleon struggling to clear the snow left by the blizzard earlier this week. They offered to shovel her driveway and dig her car out “as a good deed,” according to a police report on the incident. Ms Deleon shared a bottle of rum with the teenagers after they completed the work. She then drove them to a nearby liquor store where she bought another bottle, which they also shared, Mr Chong said.”

And don’t forget to catch up with all the Strange Justice before you go.

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