Friday, April 20, 2012

Legally Stupid

I thought I would end this slight downer of a blog week by posting a funny-blast-from-my-past e-mail. I say blast from the past, because this e-mail came to me in the last century (2002) and even some 10 years later, I find it still incredibly hilarious.


Most of the country has heard of the Darwin Awards given annually to the individual who do the most for mankind by removing themselves from the gene pool.

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 (surely deceased), 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} December 1997: K. W. of Clarmont, Delaware, successfully sued the owner of a nightclub when she fell from the bathroom window to the floor and knocked out her two front teeth. This occurred while Ms. W. 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.

2} December 1997: A Philadelphia restaurant was ordered to pay A. C. of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, $113,500 after she slipped on a soft drink and broke her coccyx. The beverage was on the floor because Ms. C threw it at her boyfriend 30 seconds earlier during an argument.

3} October 1999: J. W. 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. W. 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. W. who, at the time, was repeatedly shooting it with a pellet gun.

4} October 1998: T.D. of Bristol, Pennsylvania was leaving a house he had just finished robbing by way of the garage. He was not able get the garage door to go up, because the automatic door opener was malfunctioning. He couldn't reenter the house because the door connected the house and garage locked when he pulled it shut. The family was on vacation. Mr. D. 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. D sued the homeowner's insurance claiming the situation cause him undue mental anguish. The jury agreed to the tune of one half million dollars.

5} June 1998: 19 year old C.T. of Los Angeles won $74,000 and medical expenses when his neighbor ran over his hand with a Honda Accord. Mr. T apparently didn't notice that there was someone at the wheel of the car when he was trying to steal his neighbor's hubcaps.

6} January 2000: K.R. of Austin, Texas, was awarded $780,000 by a jury of her peers after breaking her ankle, tripping over a toddler who was running amok inside a furniture store. The owners were understandably surprise at the verdict, considering that the misbehaving little fellow was Ms. R's son.


  1. That was supposed to be uplifting. That is a downer.

    It is a sad state of affairs that not only were these people sued but that a jury found for the plaintiff.

  2. I still to this day, do not see how a burglar can sue a home owner after breaking into their house! These are all very wrong!

  3. Lynn: On so many levels, most definitely. :D

    Bearman: Our legal system is so incredibly dysfunctional that it boggles the mind, yet the ones that made it so are the ones that want to keep it that way.

    Dan: Sad to say, I used to see parodies of this stuff in MAD magazine, never dreaming that one day they would actually become true.

  4. I just don't know what to say. Who sits on these juries?

  5. M: Why super duper smart people who don't have the common sense of people like myself and those who comment on/read this blog.

  6. The opposite of the Darwin awards. Most of these idiots will use the money to reproduce more of their kind. Some already have it seems.

  7. In what universe does this stupidity count as 'justice'?

    No wonder our society is getting more litigious if people try (and succeed, it would seem!) to get away with making someone else pay for their own self-inflicted hardship.

    Of course, in the end WE ALL pay, as getting insurance cover becomes more difficult and premiums rocket.

    But still, you have to laugh at these morons who do such stupid things and think that's normal behaviour!

    Sad times, sad times - we are all going to hell in a handcart!

  8. Sadly, our society has become so litigious that for many people it is not just moronic stupidity that says someone must pay for their self-inflicted hardship - too often the whiff of a fast buck for 'blaming' someone else is hard to resist!

    In the end we all end up paying for it, as insurance premiums rocket up!

    So sad, so sad - we are all going to hell in a handcart!

  9. (...and now I realise I didn't have to repeat my last comment! I thought it had vanished into the 'ether' so I tried again......then read the small print about being subject to the blog owner's approval! ;-p)

  10. Charles: It truly does boggle the mind.

    It's scary that you can do incredibly stupid things and yet get paid for it, even though it's your fault to begin with.

    Scarier still is that heaven forbid if someone tries to stop you from your self inflicted stupidity, everyone suddenly hyperventilates about personal responsibility.

    Sue H: That's okay, if you put them together, you still have one very funky comment. :D

    You should hear the legal community howl whenevery someone tries to permanently eliminates someone's ability to sue, simply because they have filed hundreds of frivolous lawsuits.

    Classic example of self inflicted stupidy:

    We had a lady who sued the MDC (water commission) because she injured herself while biking through a restricted area in the resorvoir.

    She won, and the MDC came this close to shutting public access to all of the resorvoir parks that they own because of it.

  11. Sad, Sad, Sad. K.R. of Austin, Texas floors me the most.

  12. David: Yeah, that last one should make everyone's collective jaw drop hard to the ground.

    You know, we're in the wrong business. We need to become professional victims, instead of hardworking stiffs.


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G. B. Miller

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