Saturday, October 18, 2008

The 2007 True Stella Awards Winners

by Randy Cassingham
Issued February 2008

#3: Sentry Insurance Company.
The company provided worker's compensation insurance for a Wisconsin "Meals on Wheels" program. Delivering a meal, a MoW volunteer (who was allegedly not even wearing boots) slipped and fell on a participant's driveway that had been cleared of snow, and Sentry had to pay to care for her resulting injuries. Sentry wanted its money back, so it sued the 81-year-old homeowner getting the Meals on Wheels service. It could have simply filed for "subrogation" from her homeowner's insurance company, but by naming her in the action, it dragged an old lady into court, reinforcing the image of insurance companies as concerned only about the bottom line, not "protecting" policyholders from loss.

#2: The family of Robert Hornbeck.
Hornbeck volunteered for the Army and served a stint in Iraq. After getting home, he got drunk, wandered into a hotel's service area (passing "DANGER" warning signs), crawled into an air conditioning unit, and was severely cut when the machinery activated. Unable to care for himself due to his drunkenness, he bled to death. A tragedy, to be sure, but one solely caused by a supposedly responsible adult with military training. Despite his irresponsible behavior -- and his perhaps criminal trespassing -- Hornbeck's family sued the hotel for $10 million, as if it's reasonably foreseeable that some drunk fool would ignore warning signs and climb into its heavy duty machinery to sleep off his bender.

But those pale compared to...

The winner of the 2007 True Stella Award: Roy L. Pearson Jr.
The 57-year-old Administrative Law Judge from Washington DC claims that a dry cleaner lost a pair of his pants, so he sued the mom-and-pop business for $65,462,500. That's right: more than $65 million for one pair of pants. Representing himself, Judge Pearson cried in court over the loss of his pants, whining that there certainly isn't a more compelling case in the District archives. But the Superior Court judge wasn't moved: he called the case "vexatious litigation", scolded Judge Pearson for his "bad faith", and awarded damages to the dry cleaners. But Pearson didn't take no for an answer: he's appealing the decision. And he has plenty of time on his hands, since he was dismissed from his job. Last we heard, Pearson's appeal is still pending.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Stella Awards

It's time again for the annual 'Stella Awards'! For those unfamiliar with these awards, they are named after 81-year-old Stella Liebeck who spilled hot coffee on herself and successfully sued the McDonald's in New Mexico where she purchased the 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 Stella's for the past year:

7TH PLACE :
Kathleen Robertson of Austin, Texas was awarded $80,000 by a jury of her peers after breaking her ankle tripping over a todd ler who was running inside a
furniture store. The store owners were understandably surprised by the verdict, considering the running toddler was her own son.


6TH PLACE :
Carl Truman, 19, of Los Angeles, California won $74,000 plus medical expenses when his neighbor ran over his hand with a Honda Accord. Truman apparently didn't notice there was someone at the wheel of the car when he was trying to steal his neighbor's
hubcaps.

Go ahead, grab your head scratcher.

5TH PLACE :
Terrence Dickson, of Bristol, Pennsylvania , who was leaving a house he had just burglarized by way of the garage. Unfortunately for Dickson, 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 Dickson pulled it shut. Forced to sit for eight, count 'em, EIGHT, days on a case of Pepsi and a larg e 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 Dickson $500,000 for his anguish. We should all have this kind of anguish.

Keep scratching. There are more...

4TH PLACE :
Jerry Williams, 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. Williams 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 Williams had climbed over the fence into the yard and repeatedly shot the dog with a pellet gun.

Grrrrr . Scratch, scratch.

3RD PLACE:
Amber Carson of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, because a jury 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: Ms. Carson had thrown it at her boyfriend 30 seconds earlier during an argument. What ever happened to people being responsible for their own actions?

Scratch, scratch, scratch. Hang in there; there are only two more Stellas to go...

2ND PLACE :
Kara Walton, 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 Ms. Walton 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.

1ST PLACE : (May I have a fanfare played on 50 kazoos
please)
This year's runaway First Place Stella Award winnerwas Mrs. Merv Grazinski, 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, Mrs. Grazinski sued Winnebago for not putting in the owner's manual t hat she couldn't actually leave the driver's seat while the cruise contr ol 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 Mrs. Grazinski has any elatives who might also buy a motor home.

Are we, as a society, getting more stupid..? Ya Think??!!

More than a few of our judge's elevators don't go to the top floor either!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

How the stock market works:

Once upon a time in a place overrun with monkeys, a man appeared and announced to the villagers that he would buy monkeys for $10 each. The villagers, seeing that there were many monkeys around, went out to the forest, and started catching them.

The man bought thousands at $10 and as supply started to diminish, they became harder to catch, so the villagers stopped their effort.

The man then announced that he would now pay $20 for each one. This renewed the efforts of the villagers and they started catching monkeys again. But soon the supply diminished even further and they were ever harder to catch, so people started going back to their farms and forgot about monkey catching.

The man increased his price to $25 each and the supply of monkeys became so sparse that it was an effort to even see a monkey, much less catch one.

The man now announced that he would buy monkeys for $50! However, since he had to go to the city on some business, his assistant would now buy on his behalf.

While the man was away the assistant told the villagers. "Look at all these monkeys in the big cage that the man has bought. I will sell them to you at $35 each and when the man returns from the city, you can sell them to him for $50 each."

The villagers rounded up all their savings and bought all the monkeys.

They never saw the man nor his assistant again and once again there were monkeys everywhere.

Now you have a better understanding of how the stock market works.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Pickup line


Having already downed a few power drinks, she turned around, faced him, looked him straight in the eye and said, " Listen up, Buddy. I screw anybody, anytime, anywhere, your place, my place, in the car, front door, back door, on the ground, standing up, sitting down, naked or with clothes on, dirty, clean. It doesn't matter to me. I've been doing it ever since I got out of college and I just love it."

Eyes now wide with interest, he responded, "No kidding. I'm a lawyer too. What firm are you with?"

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Monday, October 13, 2008

$20

A woman was sitting at a bar enjoying an after work cocktail with her girlfriends when an exceptionally tall, handsome, extremely sexy, middle-aged man entered. He was so striking that the woman could not take her eyes off of him.

The young-at-heart man noticed her overly attentive stare and walked directly toward her. Before she could offer her apologies for staring so rudely, he leaned over and whispered to her, "I'll do anything, absolutely anything , that you want me to do, no
matter how kinky, for $20.00................on one condition."

Flabbergasted, the woman asked what the condition was. The man replied, "You have to tell me what you want me to do in just three words."

The woman considered his proposition for a moment, and then slowly removed a $20 bill from her purse, which she pressed into the man's hand along with her address.

She looked deeply into his eyes, and slowly and meaningfully said..............
.
.
.
.
"Clean my house."

Sunday, October 12, 2008

He's a Goner

A man and a woman were dating. She, being of a religious nature, had held back the worldly pleasure that he wanted from her so badly. In fact, he had never even seen her naked.

One day, as they slowly drove down the freeway, she remarked about his slow-driving habits. "I can't stand it anymore," she told him. "Let's play a game.. For every 5 miles per hour over the speed limit [60 MPH] you drive, I'll remove one piece of clothing."

He enthusiastically agreed and sped up the car. He reached the 65 MPH mark, so she took off her blouse. At 70 off came the pants. At 75 it was her bra and At 80 her panties. Now seeing her naked for the first time...and traveling faster than he ever had before...he became very excited and lost control of the car.

He veered off the road, went over an embankment and hit a tree! His girlfriend was not hurt, but he was trapped. She tried to pull him free but alas he was stuck.

"Go to the road and get help," he said. "I don't have anything to cover myself with!" she replied.

The man felt around, but could only reach one of his shoes. "You'll have to put this between your legs to cover it up," he told her. So she did as he said and went up to the road for help.

Along came a truck driver. Seeing a naked, crying woman along the road, he pulled over to hear her story. "My boyfriend! My boyfriend!" she sobs, "He's stuck and I can't pull him out!"

The truck driver looking down at the shoe between her legs replied, "Ma'am,
if he's in that far, I'm afraid he's a goner!"