The Stella Awards - Stupid US Legal Payouts


Book Reviewer
It seems the Stella Awards have restarted. These are awards given to the most stupid payouts by American juries for damages.

The 2012 Stella Awards - WROQ

Here are the Stellas for this past year -- 2011


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. Truman 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, who was leaving a house he had just burglarized by way of the garage. Unfortunately for Dickson, the automatic garage door opener malfunctioned and he could not 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, count 'em, 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, garnered 4th place in the Stella's when he 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 - A jury ordered 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. Whatever happened to people being responsible for their own actions?


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. Even though Ms. Walton was trying to sneak through the ladies room window to avoid paying the $3.50 cover charge, the jury said the night club had to pay her 12,000.... oh, yeah, plus dental expenses. Go figure.

Ok. Here we go!! Drum roll ...


This year's runaway First Place Stella Award winner was: Mrs. Merv Grazinski of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, who purchased 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 driver's seat to go to the back of the Winnebago to make herself a sandwich. Not surprisingly, the motor home left the freeway, crashed and overturned. Also not surprisingly, Mrs. Grazinski sued Winnebago for not putting in the owners manual that she couldn't actually leave the driver's seat while the cruise control was set.

The Oklahoma jury awarded her, are you sitting down? $1,750,000 PLUS a new motor home. Winnebago actually changed their manuals as a result of this suit, just in case Mrs. Grazinski has any relatives who might also buy a motor home.
Just goes to prove that there is no commen sense in the american legal system and that some people are as dumb as shit. Q to the american arrsers: why don`t the judges overturn these jurys and tell them not to be so bloody stupid.


Book Reviewer
And people think our justice system is fucked???
The problem is it will slowly creep over into the british legal system and the chav scum will have a field day
Surprisingly the same stories have been circulating since 1998!

And all unfortunately false.

I prefer the Darwin Awards.
Surprisingly the same stories have been circulating since 1998!

And all unfortunately false.

I prefer the Darwin Awards.
I agree! but if you go to this site -
True Stella Awards: the 2003 Winners - the True Stella Awards

It tells you them for a few years. It also points out (well if you read it properly) that a lot of these cases had lawsuits filed for stupid reasons to get cash, but some had been thrown out of court, some were still in court and the odd person did get a payout. There's links to a few more of the years as well.


I was told a story about some bloke in the US who used his ride on lawnmower to trim his hedge. Apparently he used a couple of fence palings to drive it up on the hedge. When he and the mower fell off, it ended up cutting his hand off.
I'm led to believe he got a payout and the mower manufacturer put a warning in its manuals about such fuckwittery.

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It might be bollocks but as it comes from the same place that puts "Point this end at enemy" on its weapons then you can see why it is so believable.
Never mind all that, what sort of word is:


as in "who was leaving a house he had just burglarized". The property was burgled, he is a burglar. Good grief!

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