I got this the other day from a friend of mine. I thought Tommy might find it interesting.

The Stella Awards

In 1994 a New Mexico jury awarded $2.9 million U.S. in damages to 81-year-old Stella Liebeck who suffered third-degree burns to her legs, groin and buttocks after spilling a cup of McDonald's coffee on herself. This case inspired an annual award—The "Stella" Award—for the most frivolous lawsuit in the U.S. Listed below are some recent nominees.

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 amok inside a furniture store. The owners of the store were understandably surprised at theverdict, considering the misbehaving little kid was Ms. Robertson's son.

Nineteen-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 stealhis neighbor's hubcaps.

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 because the automatic door opener was malfunctioning. He couldn't re-enter the housebecause 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, 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 award in his favor to the tune of half a million dollars.

Jerry Williams of Little Rock, Arkansas, was awarded $14,500 and medicalexpenses after being bitten on the buttocks by his next door neighbor's beagle. The beagle was on a chain in its owner's fenced yard, as was Mr. Williams (in the owner'sfenced 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 shooting it repeatedly with a pellet gun.

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. The beverage was on the floor because Ms. Carson threw it at her boyfriend a moment earlierduring an argument.

Kara Walton of Claymont, Delaware, successfully sued the owner of a nightclub in a neighboring city 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 sneakthrough the window in the ladies room to avoid paying the $3.50 cover charge. She was awarded $12,000 and dental expenses.

And you wondered how O.J. got off...

Jim Carley

[ As Read on Car Talk ]