In 1994, a New Mexico jury awarded $ 2.9 million in damages to 81-year-old Stella Liebeck, who suffered third-degree burns to her legs after spilling a cup of McDonald?s coffee on herself. This case inspired the annual Stella Awards for the most frivolous lawsuit in the U.S. This year?s candidates are listed below.
January 2000: Kathleen Robertson of Austin, Texas was awarded $780,000 by a jury after breaking her ankle tripping over a toddler who was running around inside a furniture store. The owners of the store were surprised at the verdict, considering the little boy was Ms. Robertson?s own son.
June 1998:19-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 didn?t notice there was someone at the wheel of the car when he was trying to steal his neighbor?s hubcaps.
October 1998: Terrence Dickson of Bristol, Pennsylvania was leaving a house he had just finished robbing by going through the garage. He was not able to get the garage door to go up, because the automatic door opener was malfunctioning. He couldn?t re-enter the house because the door connecting the house and garage locked when he pulled it shut. Since the family was on vacation, Dickson found himself locked in the garage for eight days. He stayed alive by drinking a case of Pepsi he found, along with a large bag of dry dog food. He sued the homeowner?s insurance claiming undue mental anguish, and a jury awarded him half a million dollars.
October 1999: 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. The beagle was on a chain in the owner?s fenced-in yard, and Mr. Williams was in there with it, shooting at it with a pellet gun.
May 2000: A Philadelphia restaurant was ordered to pay Amber Carson of Lancaster, Pennsylvania $113,500 after she slipped on soft drink and broke her coccyx (?tail bone?). The drink was on the floor because Ms. Carson threw it at her boyfriend 30 seconds earlier during an argument.
December 1997: Kara Walton of Claymont, Delaware successfully sued the owner of a night club in a nearby city when she fell from the bathroom window to the floor and knocked out her two front teeth while she was trying to sneak through the window in the ladies room to avoid paying the $3.50 cover charge. She was awarded $12,000 and dental expenses.
The Stella Awards website also says that Kenmore Inc. was found not liable for the death of Dorothy Johnson?s poodle after she gave it a bath and attempted to dry it by putting it in the microwave.
This last story is unlikely to be true, since it?s a long-time urban legend, as can be seen on the following website,click here.
UPDATE: A reader sent us the following link, which claims that none of the cases given Stella Awards are real. To make up your own mind,click here.
NOTE: This news story, previously published on our old site, will have any links removed.