Candidates for the 2002 Stella Awards (named after Stella Liebeck, who spilled a
coffee on herself and successfully sued McDonalds) include the following:
ï 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 chained in its owner's fenced yard. The award was less than sought because the
jury felt the dog might have been just a little provoked by Mr Williams, who was
shooting it repeatedly with a pellet gun.
ï Kara Walton of Claymont, Delaware, successfully sued the owner of a night club
when she fell from the bathroom window to the floor and knocked out her two front
teeth. This occurred while Ms Walton 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
ï 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. The beverage was
on the floor because Ms Carson had thrown it at her boyfriend 30 seconds earlier
during an argument.
ï Terrance Dickson of Bristol, Pennsylvania, was leaving a house he had just finished
robbing by way of the garage. He was not able to get the garage door up as the automatic
door was jammed, and he couldn't re-enter the house as the door had locked when he
pulled it shut. The family was on vacation, and Mr Dickson found himself locked in
the garage for eight 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 mental anguish. The jury agreed to the tune of $500,000.
ï Mr Merv Grazinski of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, purchased a new 32-foot Winnebago
motor home. On his first trip home, having driven onto the freeway, he set the cruise
control at 70 mph and calmly left the driver's 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 couldn't
actually do this. The jury awarded him $1,750,000 plus a new motor home. Winnebago
changed their owner's manuals.