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revefsreleets 08-17-2009 09:04 AM

Outrageous Lawsuits...
I don't know if these are verifiable or not, and I'm too lazy to Snopes them, but they SOUND possible, don't they?

Stella Awards

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. You remember, she took the lid off the coffee and put it between her knees while she was driving. Who would ever think one could get burned doing that, right? That' s 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. 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.

Start scratching!


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.

Scratch some more...


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. We should all have this kind of anguish. Keep scratching. There are more......

Double hand scratching after this one...


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.

Pick a new spot to scratch, you're getting a bald spot..


Amber Carson of Lancaster, Pennsylvania because 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. What ever happened to people being responsible for their own actions?

Only two more so ease up on the scratching....


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!!


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 on to 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 owner's 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.

Godfather 08-17-2009 09:15 AM

Re: Outrageous Lawsuits...
Those are urban legends, but here are some real ones that are just as bad:

revefsreleets 08-17-2009 09:18 AM

Re: Outrageous Lawsuits...
I don't see much difference.

Tort reform anyone? Review panels and/or judges instead of "Jury's of peers"?

Trial Lawyers have the Democratic Party in their pocket, so ain't never gonna happen...

HometownGal 08-17-2009 09:22 AM

Re: Outrageous Lawsuits...
Those are some wild-azzed claims! :jawdrop: Those morons should have to pay Mother Nature for sucking up oxygen that they are clearly wasting. :shake02:

Over the years as a paralegal, I came across some doozie lawsuits. One that stands out in my mind is the woman who came crying into our office holding a candy bar that had maggots in it that she had purchased from a 5 & 10 store in downtown Pittsburgh. The maggots were dead but she claimed she just bought the candy bar though she had no receipt to verify it and had not eaten any of it. The lawyer I worked for at the time, being the unscrupulous vampire bat that he was, decided to take her case for all it was worth and won a judgment via jury trial against the manufacturer of the candy bar for a nice chunk of change, claiming that the woman suffered "months upon months" of mental anguish and nightmares. :rolleyes:

revefsreleets 08-17-2009 11:08 AM

Re: Outrageous Lawsuits...
The whole system is an embarrassment...I wonder how many billions are squandered each year, how much of the cost of our goods is actually insurance premiums protecting companies form these knuckleheads, and if there is really anything we can ever do to oust (or at least beat back) these silver tongued slimebag trial lawyers who basically exist as leaches and prey on stupid everyday idiots who end up on these civil suit jury's.

It's a bad and heavily flawed system...

Indo 08-17-2009 11:21 AM

Re: Outrageous Lawsuits...
And don't forget that those that sit on the juries that are awarding these claims also need to be purged out of existence---somehow common sense just doesn't exist amonst jurists and they choose the "Sympathy Award".

revefsreleets 08-17-2009 11:24 AM

Re: Outrageous Lawsuits...
Bear in mind that, for the most part, our best and brightest never sit on jury duty. Everybody I know tries to get out of it, and the smart ones always seem to do just that...

The_WARDen 08-17-2009 11:38 AM

Re: Outrageous Lawsuits...

Originally Posted by revefsreleets (Post 640032)
Bear in mind that, for the most part, our best and brightest never sit on jury duty. Everybody I know tries to get out of it, and the smart ones always seem to do just that...

well, they do say that you are to be tried by a jury of your peers....

revefsreleets 08-17-2009 11:54 AM

Re: Outrageous Lawsuits...

Originally Posted by The_WARDen (Post 640038)
well, they do say that you are to be tried by a jury of your peers....

Not MY peers. For the most part, the jury's seem to be made up by a bunch of people who look they are fresh off the Jerry Springer Show.

I don't believe there is any constitutional guarantee of "jury of peers" for CIVIL suits.

revefsreleets 08-17-2009 11:56 AM

Re: Outrageous Lawsuits...
Also, for anyone who wants to dispute the clear ties between the Democrats and trial lawyers, here are a couple pieces of information. One is a little dated, but that makes it no less germane...
(National Review...this is like 5 pages long so I only posted the first paragraphs)

The Democratic party has come full circle on tobacco. In 1988, Al Gore boasted that he had "raised tobacco": "I've hoed it. I've dug in it. I've chopped it, I've shredded it, spiked it" and so on. Then he waged a ferocious anti-tobacco campaign. Now, Democrats once again view tobacco as a lucrative cash crop as trial lawyers begin investing their fees from the 1998 tobacco settlement in political campaigns.

Those legal fees are estimated at between $3 and $5 billion per year for the next 25 years. While the fees the tobacco companies will have to pay are still in arbitration in over 40 states, three years ago lawyers representing just three states-Texas, Mississippi, and Florida- were awarded $8.2 billion. These lawyers can be counted on to invest their newfound wealth in the industry that made them rich: the out-of- control system of tort litigation that underwrites, and is protected by, the Democratic party.

An estimated 50 cents of every dollar awarded to tort plaintiffs gets eaten up by lawyers and courts-and a great deal of that money ends up benefiting Democratic candidates. Over the last decade, the legal profession has led all other groups in campaign contributions-giving a total of $357 million to federal candidates-and 70 percent of its cash goes to Democrats. The 56,000-member Association of Trial Lawyers of America (ATLA) was the top PAC contributor to Democratic federal candidates in the last election cycle; the organization spent $2.6 million, 86 percent of which went to Democrats.

Individual attorneys account for the largest portion of trial lawyers' donations-and through their unlimited soft-money contributions, they influence the Democrats to such an extent that even the liberal media are forced to take notice. In a recent discussion about Democratic support for permitting lawsuits against HMOs, NBC's Tim Russert pointed out that trial lawyers had contributed $14.5 million in soft money to Democrats last year. Trial lawyers are also the chief reason Senate Democrats-even when they were in the minority-outraised Republicans in soft money.

The tobacco deal-the largest civil settlement in history-has created overnight billionaires, with plenty of ready money to invest in politics. As the Manhattan Institute's Walter Olson says, "The tobacco settlements have created a class of lawyers richer than any lawyers have dreamed of being in the history of the world. They really have become an institutional ATM for the Democratic party." According to the American Tort Reform Foundation, tobacco-settlement lawyers alone gave over $4 million to federal candidates in 2000. (The Center for Responsive Politics reports that the auto manufacturers gave only $1.2 million.)

In 1998, five Texas lawyers were awarded $3.3 billion for negotiating the state's $17.3 billion tobacco settlement; every three months, each of the five receives a check for $25 million. In 1998, the "Tobacco Five" accounted for the lion's share of the plaintiffs' lawyers' contributions that, in turn, made up 78 percent of all donations to the Texas Democratic party. In the 2000 cycle, money from the Tobacco Five represented 40 percent of the $4.8 million raised by the state's Democrats. (By way of comparison, the Texas GOP raised only $2.7 million in the same cycle.) The Tobacco Five also donated $2.5 million in soft money to national Democrats.

When arbitration panels in state after state make their final awards of legal fees in the tobacco suit, other states can expect their own new billionaires to wield similar political clout. And the record shows that these trial lawyers are savvy investors. Tobacco Five member Walter Umphrey, a longtime Democratic donor, received unwelcome attention during investigations of President Clinton's fundraising operations. The call sheet for DNC chairman Don Fowler to solicit Umphrey in 1995 read, "Sorry you missed the vice president: I know [you] will give $100K when the President vetoes tort reform, but we really need it now. Please send ASAP if possible." Clinton vetoed tort reform in the spring of 1996. Following the veto, Sen. Joseph Lieberman-a supporter of tort reform-accurately characterized trial lawyers as "a small group of people who are deeply invested in the status quo, who have worked the system very effectively and have had a disproportionate effect."

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