Most of the country has heard of the Darwin Awards given annually to the individuals who do the most for mankind by removing themselves from the genepool.
Now, we have the Stella Awards given to the individuals who win the most frivolous lawsuits ever. The Stella Awards are named in honor of 81 year-old Stella Liebeck, the woman who won $2.9 million for spilling a cup of McDonald's coffee on herself.
The following are candidates for the award:
1. January 2000: Kathleen Robertson of Austin, Texas, was awarded $780,000 by a jury of her peers after breaking her ankle, tripping over a toddler who was running amuck inside a furniture store. The owners of the store were understandably surprised at the verdict, considering that the misbehaving little fellow was Ms. Robertson's son.
2. 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 apparently didn't notice there was someone at the wheel of the car when he was trying to steal his neighbor's hubcaps.
3. October, 1998: Terrence Dickson of Bristol, Pa., was leaving a house he had just finished robbing by way of 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. The family was on vacation. Mr. Dickson found himself locked in the garage for eight days. He subsisted on a case of Pepsi he found in the garage and a large bag of dry dog food.
Mr.Dickson sued the homeowner's insurance claiming the situation caused him undue mental anguish. The jury agreed to the tune of a half million dollars.
4. 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 dog was on a chain in its owner's fenced-in yard at the time. Mr. Williams was also in the fenced-in yard. The award was less than sought because the jury felt the dog may have been provoked by Mr.Williams who, at the time, was repeatedly shooting it with a pellet gun.
5. December 1997: Philadelphia restaurant was ordered to pay Amber Carson of Lancaster, Pa., $113,500 after she slipped on a soft drink and broke her coccyx. The beverage was on the floor because Ms. Carson threw it at her boy-friend 30 seconds earlier during an argument.
6. December 1997: Kara Walton of Claymont, DE., 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 dental expenses.
DO WE HAVE A PROBLEM WITH OUR JUDICIAL SYSTEM, OR WHAT??? Or maybe we have way too many lawyers!