Thursday, March 28, 2013

Winners of the 2012 Stella Awards Announced

This is not a writer's award. But some of these stories are better than the ones we create. 

For those unfamiliar with these awards, they are named after 81-year-old Stella 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 kind of cases that make you scratch your head. So keep your head scratcher handy

Here are the Stella Awards for this past year—2012
I've changed the names to protect the innocent, me!


Katherine 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!


Charlie, 19, of Los Angeles, California won $74,000 plus medical expenses when his neighbor ran over his hand with a Honda Accord. Charlie 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...


Ted, of Bristol , Pennsylvania , who was leaving a house he had just burglarized by way of the garage. Unfortunately for Ted, 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 Ted 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 Ted $500,000 for his anguish. We should all have this kind of anguish

Keep scratching. There are more...


Jeremy, 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. Jeremy 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 Jeremy 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..


Anne  of Lancaster , Pennsylvania sued a Philadelphia restaurant. A jury ordered the 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: Anne 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...


Karla, 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 Karla 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: Mavis  of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, who purchased a 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, Mavis 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 Mavis has any relatives who might also buy a motor home.

Do you have anyone you'd like to nominate?


  1. People are crazy and the jury and judge is beyond nuts. Ugh! You can't make this stuff up.

    Thanks for the real people are stranger than fiction.

  2. Yeesh. No editor would let us write this stuff.

  3. @Sandy L Rowland
    @ Liz Flaherty
    @ Cindy Spencer Pape

    My sister sent me the list and I just couldn't believe them.

    Have a great Passover/Easter!

  4. These are great. I had to read them to hubby. He is still shaking his head. "Talk about people wasting oxygen," he continues to rant.

  5. It's just nuts what jurors will award, yet I've seen legitimate case get nothing.

  6. Really? Seriously? You're pulling my leg, right Ruth?

  7. We laugh, but it is really a sad indictment of our society when people are rewarded for being so $&@)(;: stupid.

  8. I'm taking all of these with a large grain of salt. I happen to know quite a bit about the MacDonald's case. I also know what happens on appeal.

  9. @Paisley Kirkpatrick

    I agree with your husband.

  10. @Marian Lanouette

    I know. Some of these cases are just unbelievable.

  11. @Jana Richards

    I wish is was pulling your leg. But these are actual cases.

  12. @Sandy

    It's not that our society is stupid, it's what our court system will tolerate and deem appropriate for litigation.

  13. @ellaquinnauthor

    I'm glad to hear that things may have changed on appeal but for these cases to have gone that far is really a waste of court time and taxpayer money.

  14. These are ALL urban legends, fakes.

  15. Of course every one of these is a hoax as documented by such sites as the actual Stella Awards site: