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“Stella Awards” Demonstrate Proof of Dysfunction in America

(Bruno Vincent/Getty Images)

I received an e-mail from an acquaintance of mine who also happens to be a WJLT listener.  Within this e-mail were stories of people who were awarded monetary compensation from the American judicial system.  Before I write any more, I would like to begin by saying/writing that I honestly don’t know if these stories are true.  However if they are, our judicial system has become as dysfunctional as our American society has.

The following is directly from the e-mail.  I can’t credit any one particular person for these stories or e-mail, but I thought that you may be amused/disgusted/appalled, etc. by reading them.  (I have removed names in the stories.)


It’s time again for the annual ‘Stella Awards’! For those unfamiliar with these awards, they are named after (an) 81-year-old (^) who spilled hot coffee on herself and successfully sued (a restaurant) 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 year — 2013:


(A woman from) Austin, Texaswas 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!


(A man from) Los Angeles ,California won $74,000 plus medical expenses when his neighbor ran over his hand with (his car). (The man) 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…


(A man from) Bristol , Pennsylvania , who was leaving a house he had just burglarized by way of the garage. Unfortunately for (him), 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 (he) pulled it shut. Forced to sit for eight, count ’em, EIGHT days and survive on a case of (soft drink) 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 (the man) $500,000 for his anguish. We should all have this kind of anguish. Keep scratching. There are more…


Double hand scratching after this one..


(A man from) 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. (The man) 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 (the man) 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..



(A woman from) Lancaster,Pennsylvania was awarded by a jury that 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? (The woman) had thrown it at her boyfriend 30 seconds earlier during an argument.

Only two more so ease up on the scratching…



 (A woman from) 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 (the woman) 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: (a woman from) Oklahoma City , Oklahoma, who purchased new 32-foot (^) motor home. On her first trip home, from a (^) 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 (motor home) to make herself a sandwich. Not surprisingly, the motor home left the freeway, crashed and overturned. Also not surprisingly, (the woman) sued (the motor home company) 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. (The motor home) actually changed their manuals as a result of this suit, just in case (the woman) has any relatives who might also buy a motor home.”

Again, I don’t have proof that these stories are true, nor do I have time to find out, but if they are true…Heaven help us all!

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