The Bogus Stella Awards

The real Stella awards are named after 81-year-old Stella Liebeck who spilled coffee on herself and successfully sued McDonald’s. Many stories are going around the ‘net saying they are “The Stella Awards”. Many of these stories are false, made-up, or (sometimes) true stories with false elements added to them. It makes no sense to use false examples of real problems when there are so many true examples that illustrate the actual problem.

The sad part: despite these stories having been debunked years ago, they not only still circulate, but many reporters, columnists and radio “personalities” still talk about them as if they were true, which says a lot about their professionalism. In many outrageous cases, these lazy “news” people will even link to this site as the source of these silly lies! What a ridiculous lack of standards they have!

So, now, on with the bogus awards. When you are done, go over to the Real Stella Awards for more cases that are in fact true and just as bizarre.

5th place (tied)

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 inside a furniture store. The owners of the store were understandably surprised at the verdict, considering the misbehaving toddler was Ms. Robertson’s son.

5th place (tied)

19-year-old Carl Truman of Los Angeles, California, won $74,000 medical expenses when his neighbor ran over his hand with a Honda Accord. Mr. Truman apparently did not notice there was someone at the wheel of the car when he was trying to steal the hubcaps.

5th place (tied)

Terrence Dickson of Bristol, Pennsylvania, 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 since the automatic door opener was malfunctioning. He could not re-enter the house because the door connecting the house and garage locked when he pulled it shut. The family were on vacation and Mr. Dickson found himself locked in the garage for 8 days. He subsisted on a case of Pepsi he found and a large bag of dry dog food. He sued the house owners insurance claiming the situation caused him undue mental anguish. The jury agreed to the tune of $500,000.

4th place

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 dog. The Beagle was on a chain in its owner’s fenced yard. The award was less than sought because the jury felt the dog might have been a little provoked at the time, as Mr. Williams who had climbed over the fence into the yard, was shooting it repeatedly with a pellet gun.

3rd place

A Philadelphia restaurant was ordered to pay Amber Carson of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, $113,500, after she slipped on a soft drink and broke her coccyx (tailbone). The beverage was on the floor because Ms. Carson had thrown it at her boyfriend 30 seconds earlier during an argument.

2nd place

Kara Walton of Claymont, Delaware, sued the owner of a night club in a neighboring city when she fell from the bathroom window to the floor and knocked out two of her front teeth. This occurred whilst Ms. Walton was trying to crawl through the window in the ladies room to avoid paying the $3.50 cover charge. She was awarded $12,000 and dental expenses.

1st place

This year’s runaway winner was Mr. Merv Grazinski of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Mr. Grazinski purchased a brand new Winnebago Motor Home. On his trip home from an OU football game, having driven onto the freeway, he set the cruise control at 70 mph and calmly left the drivers seat to go into the back and make himself a cup of coffee. Not surprisingly, the RV left the
freeway, crashed & then overturned.

Mr. Grazinski sued Winnebago for not advising him, by reading the owner’s manual, that he actually could not do this. The jury awarded him $1,750,000 plus a new Winnebago Motor Home. The company actually changed their manuals on the basis of this suit just in case there were any other complete morons buying their recreation vehicles.

Honorable Mention:

And just so you know that cooler heads do occasionally prevail: Kenmore Inc., the makers of Dorothy Johnson’s microwave, were found not liable for the death of Mrs. Johnson’s poodle after she gave it a bath and attempted to dry it by putting the poor creature in her microwave for, “just a few minutes, on low,” The case was quickly dismissed.


StellaAwards.com has found no evidence to support these stories, nor has the leading urban legend debunker, Snopes.com. The bottom line: after all these years, it’s completely ridiculous for individuals to be fooled by these cases, yet every year even “legitimate” newspapers run these very cases crying “Ain’t it awful?”, and sometimes they even attribute these old dumb jokes to the Real Stella Awards, which shows just how poorly they do when it comes to fact-checking.