Stupidity Reigns!

“We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid.”   Benjamin Franklin

Hot on the heels of  my posts on Political Correctness and Common Sense came this via email from a friend.

We have obviously allowed stupidity to take over the world considering some of the frivolous actions taken and their results in the courts in the United States.

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 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 Stellas for year  —  2011:

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

Start scratching!

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.

Scratch some more…

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 and survive on a case of Pepsi and a large 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…

Double hand scratching after this one..

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.

Pick a new spot to scratch, you’re getting a bald spot..

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?

Only two more so ease up on the scratching…

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.

Ok. Here we go!!

Clapping hands

This year’s runaway First Place Stella Award winner was: Mrs. Merv Grazinski, of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, who purchased 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 that she couldn’t actually leave the driver’s seat while the cruise control 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 relatives who might also buy a motor home.


Sorry folks.  I won’t be around for a few days.  Just off to pick up my ticket to the US to buy a Winnebago.

Against stupidity the very gods themselves contend in vain.   Friedrich Schiller

28 responses to “Stupidity Reigns!

  1. EUREKA! I am simply too nice, too intelligent, and too honest to make it in this world. I need to throw tantrums in restaurants, cause chaos, slip, fall, get hurt and sue the pants off of anybody who gets in my way. Thanks for the secret to success . . . I’m off to change the world. What should I do first?


  2. I agree that these are great contenders. I work in medical products liability, so I see stupid people like these every day. And I came up with a solution, which I wrote about here:

    Because we need to do something with stupid people.


  3. Well Judith…you are coming forth with such brilliance…have posted on my facebook…thank you once again!


    • You are most welcome. And Chris I just couldn’t resist posting this. Did you see the comment from Elyse? she posted on much the same a few days ago. It’s worth reading.


  4. This is hilarious. On the other hand, not so funny. Or is it? Certainly a testament to the stupidity of the times. There’s something wrong here. Thanks for sharing.


  5. I remember hearing about the lady leaving her seat while driving! I’ll have to make note about the kids. We trip over our kids all the time and they play inside stores all the time. I told my husband to keep an eye out for a way to pay the kids college educations. Hmmm….

    Lake Forest, CA USA


  6. Can I just ride around with you in your Winnebago and visit our blogging friends?


  7. I love the opening quote. Mr. Franklin was a wise man (wisdom seems to be extinct, eh?)

    It’s people like this that make me understand the care label on a pair of khaki pants I had: they included a reminder to remove the leather belt before washing.

    If the level of stupidity wasn’t so sad, it would by hysterical 🙂


    • My best was in a hotel in Dubai. A notice in the elevator said “not to be operated by children under three years”. My mind boggled at the thought/sight of a hoard of rug rats running to the elevator. I wonder if they had experience of this. 🙂


  8. What a great collection, Judith. Just amazing how stupid people can be . . . and get rewarded for that stupidity.


  9. Fabulous! You are on a roll! I’m not sure whether I’m crying with laughter or frustration! But I’m not sure the people doing the suing are the stupid ones here!


    • Thanks Susan – I don’t know what the next one will be but as we say watch this space. I commented above to Sandi that one of the best warnings I ever saw was in an elevator in (yes) Dubai. The notice read “not to be operated by children under three years” Imagine the sight of a hoard of 1 and 2 year olds following along behind the 3 year old who was now allowed to operate the elevator. 🙂


  10. OMG!!! Those were ridiculous verdicts. Made me grind my teeth. Thanks for sharing then . God bless you my friend.


  11. Unbelievable! My kitchen needs remodeling. I wonder what idiotic thing I can think of to do so I can get some redecorating money.


    • Well Susan – you could burn yourself in the oven or on the hotplate. Where is the warning sign that says “Hot if switched on”? Let me know how much you get. Surely I should get a share of the payout! 🙂


  12. why can judges don’t just throw these out of court? what a waste of everyone’s time and money…………..well not everyone’s it seems.


    • I thought that such frivolous suits would have been thrown out of the court. I am thinking of how I can use my Winnebago in such a stupid fashion that I will get a HUGE payout too! 🙂


  13. I am physically ill. Anybody wonder why your insurance rates are always going up, up, up? Reread this wonderful/awful list of people answering the burning question: How Low Can You Go?


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