Algis Kemezys

Algis Kemezys
Ste Adele, Québec, Canada
June 28
Internationally exhibited Photographer/Documentary filmmaker, Sculptor, Dowser, Scrabble enthusiast, Geomancer, Iatromant, gourmet chef


FEBRUARY 19, 2012 5:18AM

Stella Awards

Rate: 31 Flag

photograph by algis kemezys ,


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 Stella's for this past year -- 


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!!


This year's runaway First Place Stella Award winner was: Mrs. Merv Grazinski, of Columbus, Ohio, who purchased new 32-foot Winnebago motor home. On her first trip home, from an OSU 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 Ohio 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.

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I don't doubt there are frivolous law suits filed every day. After viewing the photographs of her burns and watching the documentary "Hot Coffee," I'm not so sure Stella Liebeck's case was one of them.
I clipped a article from The Washington Post

It is very informative about blogs and `snoops'

You go to court if you can find `1' - honest lawyer
editor . . .
a proofreader
dreaming of semi-colons
running amok
A big Sunday Morn Smile

The guy from Bristol, PA: I grew up in Yardley, 20 minutes down 1-95. This is why I married a man from a foreign country --- improving the gene pool 1 step at a time. I don't know who's most stupid, the criminal or the idiots in the PA legal system.
I agree there are a lot of frivolous lawsuits out there, including these ones. I don't think it is fair to tar Stella Liebeck with the same brush. McDonald's had offered her something like eight hundred dollars in compensation, after she had almost died from her burns. Yes, she spilled the coffee on herself, but I don't think that it the sort of mistake for which one should have to pay with her life. It was unconscionably stupid for McDonald's to be serving their coffee to people boiling hot.
wow very interesting....
I trust these lawsuits were overturned on appeal. If not, I shall forever kick myself for not having driven my old Rabbit into a utility pole while blinded by a windshield sunscreen I had not removed before driving. This, because I found another one later that had in large print facing into the car, PLEASE REMOVE THIS SUNSCREEN BEFORE DRIVING. Perhaps the company had lost an earlier lawsuit before deciding to include the warning.
Thought this was about Stella Artois....

I'm now bald and my head hurts. Thanks~
I am typing this comment with severely impaired vision. While reading your blog, I fell on my computer and gouged out an eye. You will be hearing from my lawyer.
Might want to check the veracity of some of these as some tend to be urban legends.
The Winnebago thing happened more that 10 years ago in Florida; at least, that's when I heard about it. Still funny, though. You should have to get a special license to drive those things. They are way more hazardous than a motorcycle.
My goodness. Insanity!
After reading greenheron's comment, I laughed so hard I got a stitch in my side which caused me to double over and knock my tea glass to the floor, which spilled and ruined my Oriental rug. After your lawyers settle up, Greenheron will be hearing from mine. (What comes around goes around.) lol
Too funny to be fiction. However, in a lot of such cases, the initial decision is usually reversed. My understanding in the Stella case was that, after an appeals process, Stella did not get much compensation from the Golden Arches, so she was twice burned. R
What a bunch that is all I can say.. makes my family look normal
This doesn't seem to be an original compilation but actually clipped in its entirety from blogs in at least two otehr places:
I guess there's one born every minute, and they all got on the jury together!
My scalp is bleeding
I love reading:

News of the Weird.

Do a google search. You'll be glad you did. The stupid criminals section is always worth a laugh.

I feel like a genius when I read about people like this. Thanks for the laughs this morning.
Like with the Stella case these cases are often much more complicated. It is very doubtful that juries would award so much and that lawyers would take the cases if they were as frivolous as they appear from those small newsflashes.
Algis,you caught me laughing my head off.Would this be a lawsuit?There have to be several who would have to be made responsible.

I have dropped the case because I figured a good laugh is worth a Million.

Don't tell anyone or I might be charged for ruining somebody's business.

Joan H. OK ,wish I had seen that. Thanks for mentioning it here.

I just want to say that this is a post that a friend sent me and I took the liberty of posting it here as a humorous insight into the nature of North American Life. I do not endorse any of this post but found it something humorous that I wanted to share with everyone. I am sorry I did not mention that post was from a humorous email sent to me.

Art James, Yes, it made me smile quite a bit too! Thanks!
FEBRUARY 19, 2012 05:41 AM

V.Corso, Thats such a grand idea and your always thinking of the future. Thanks a lot.

Patrick Hahn, Sorry if this post sounded like mine , It is from a friend who sends these things around. I have no opinion on this except I found this entire post funny. Thanks so much for your POV.

zanelle, Yes isn't it! Thanks Z.

Matt Paust, LOL now thats a great one MP...thanks so much for posting it here. Hee hee hee!

J.P. Hart, Good one JP, I could use one of those right now too! Thanks again.

scanner, I know, I woke up that way too. Some barbers just think short is now considered shaved. Thanks S.

greenheron, Oh I hate to chuckle at some ones misfortune but considering the context I could not help myself...Was that wrong?

AndNowForSomethingCompletelyDifferent, Good point see answers from above...It was meant to be a humorous post from the annals of the internet.

phyllis45's Bright Eyes, Oh thanks for the update on that. I agree with you I drove one once and thought it was about to flip over on a few occasions. I did not like them at all. Thanks!

tai, Yes indeed but funny none the less. Thanks!

tai, LOL your fun and I had to stop from chuckling at this misfortune. Was that wrong?

Trudge164, OMG that is interesting. Thanks for sharing the update here. Thanks and Cheers!

Linda Seccaspina, LOL don't you know it and I guess the same for me too! Thanks!

the traveler, OK I always wondered where my friend was getting these now I can stop wondering. Thanks for showing me what might be the source of this. For me it was only meant to be a funny post for your Sunday enjoyment.

You know this is the second time you have put dubious comments on my blog with disregard for the spirit of the piece... What is your problem?

ccdarling , Could not have said that any better....Thanks!

M. C. S., that OK? Thanks!

SheilaTGTG55, Truly ...Thanks!

dunniteowl OK that is a great tip. Will check it out sometime. Cheers and more! Thanks

Miguela Holt y Roybal, Yes, I could not resist reposting this because this stuff is quite funny without being funny. Thanks again!
Algis, it is a funny post. I just happened to have seen the documentary I mentioned, (you might be interested too, being a documentary filmmaker) otherwise I never would have known.
I have no doubt that you put it up with best of intentions. It's just that soundbites so often are misleading, I've learned. Didn't intend to be a wet blanket, but as the "Hot Coffee" documentary showed-- very often things are not how they appear on the surface.
I don't know what's more depressing: that these, er, "humans" really exist or that they actually won these lawsuits.

These examples explain for me why I will sometimes look at the more obviously common-sense based instructional bullets in a manual and wonder, "who would be dumb or pathetic enough to (fill in the blank)?"
Snopes lists all of these as false and originating in the late 90s. Funny as satire but all of them made up.
i don't mean to sound like a prig, but you shouldn't believe everything someone sends you about jury verdicts. i worked in the legal system my entire life. stella liebeck had a very valid case against mcdonald's, as do many of the plaintiffs who are mocked regularly in the press and by the hard-right in the US. trust me - getting money out of a civil jury in this country is no cakewalk and it is exceptionally rare that twelve usually skeptical citizens rain sympathy down on someone who's fabricating a story. if it were to happen that a verdict is out-of-bounds, it can be and is reduced to a reasonable amount by the judge on the case. i don't mean to harp, algis, but repeating stuff like this (even if this weren't internet fantasy) doesn't help the cause of truth and justice.
I'm with Candace. I also work in the legal system, and while we love to dredge up stuff like this and mock it, the truth is sobering. Doctors never make mistakes, people never get injured by human error, no one ever dies from an entirely preventable accident. The reason we give money in lawsuits is we've advanced beyond and "eye for an eye" justice.

You can bet that the safety measures you take for granted everywhere in western life--guard rails, hand rails, elevator doors that work properly, swimming pool drains that don't suck people to the bottom of the pool--all of it is because someone sued. It's the only language that corporations hear. Money. Every person who has ever sued a company over a wrongful death of a loved one does NOT want to be there. They'd have their dad/mom/son/daughter back in a heartbeat if they could, and give back every penny of the money. But they can't. They're there because they want to prevent anyone else from ever being in that situation.

Yes, lawyers don't work for free. Neither does anyone else. Lawyers take enormous financial risk on cases, paying their staff and keeping the lights on for years before they have a hope of getting paid. Sometimes they win. Sometimes they lose.

I hope, Algis, that if you ever need a lawyer, you find one who takes your case seriously and represents you fairly.
You've got to watch the documentary "Hot Coffee"
Poor Stella was not one of the frivolous lawsuits...
That documentary was made by our region's most litigious lawyer, and my former next door neighbor.
She is a whiz and if she bothered with making the documentary, there's a good reason for it.
Let's slam on McDonald's instead!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
: )

Okay, now to keep reading....
OMG, that Winnebago one made laugh!!!!!

Hot Coffee webpage, which also includes the documentary filmmaker's (I guess she's now a former? lawyer) 5 minute interview on Colbert Report last fall...he actually stopped joking and listened! for the last 30 seconds.
: )
I feel sick. What a-hole would leave the driver's seat and go to the back of their vehicle to make a sandwich. What about personal responsibility and sheer, unadulterated stupidity?
P.S. love that kitty cat.
Glad Candace and froggy weighed in. Litigation is hell. My impression is that only those who have been very seriously wronged would choose to pursue lawsuits. In my case, I could never imagine wanting anything to do with that system . Yet, some wrongs are so huge you have no choice. So many myths about the legal system are out there and it causes great greif and injustice.
Joan H., Ok thanks again I will check that out one day!

fernsy, Your not a wet blanket your fernsy! I appreciate your POV here. Cheers!

VariousArtists, Yes i wonder too it made me laugh though if this was truly the case. Thanks again.

DandyLion I will have to check that snopes thing out, Thanks for mentioning it.

femme forte aka candace, Those are good words of wisdom, Your point is well taken.Thanks!

froggy, OMG I hope I never need to have one but I am afraid I certainly do in a few personal wrongs done to me. Thanks again.

Just Thinking...Thanks so much. I enjoyed that info here.

Just Thinking... Yes that is so unreal...Thanks!

Just Thinking... Great Thanks so much for that. Colbert has been cancelled! Did you know?

Erica K, Makes us all feel so much smarter eh? Thanks!

Erica K, Thats my cat Sugargirl or Shekarkuss in Turkish. She is so good and gives me a nightly licking down around 4:oo am. She is here now. This morning I was crying and she smelt the tears before they welled out because soon I will be gone and Sugargirl will never have my bed again. I love my Sugargirl and nobody can change that.

fernsy, Yes they have some fine POVs and now the birds are churping outside my window waiting for their bread that I give them. Gotta go thanks again and Cheers to all and to all a good night.

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I think I'll sue Lifetime Television because I just saw the most depressing movie ever. I'm liable to be affected for the rest of my life.
Now I am bald and it is not a pretty sight
I truly hope these are all overturned on appeal.
rated with love
My God. I have nowhere left to scratch. Thanks for letting us in on this year's lot of outrage.
I have a fully-able bodied friend who was given the last room at a resort hotel. The room was designed for handicapped people. The roll in shower somehow allowed water to leak onto the floor which would not have even affected someone in a wheelchair, but she slipped, injured her back and is now in a wheelchair.

I don't believe she is going to sue, but???
But, seriously folks. Yes, some of these may be shy on fact-checking. Yes, many lawsuits, upon more than a superficial examination, are legit and the plaintiffs deserve to be compensated for the negligence of others who should've known better. With those yeses, here's the big BUT:

Is it any wonder-- given the extremely high stupidity and self-infliction factors in these stories--that we have the Republican presidential candidates we do? Drive defensively, mes amis, for dumbassedness is rampant.
But, seriously folks. Yes, some of these may be shy on fact-checking. Yes, many lawsuits, upon more than a superficial examination, are legit and the plaintiffs deserve to be compensated for the negligence of others who should've known better. With those yeses, here's the big BUT:

Is it any wonder-- given the extremely high stupidity and self-infliction factors in these stories--that we have the Republican presidential candidates we do? Drive defensively, mes amis, for dumbassedness is rampant.
Oi. I wish I could laugh...but frankly, I could kill some of these people. No, I could kill the judges and/or juries that awarded these settlements. It's inane...its beyond inane. It would be funny if it weren't true...have we ALL LOST OUR MINDS??? Ergh. Now watch me get arrested for my "threat."
The lawsuits in the "Stella Awards" are fictitious. Not only that, they are the same year after year. This shows that there are very few successful frivolous lawsuits. Your corporate overlords are laughing their asses off right now, since you are foolish enough to do their bidding for them, eroding people's right to sue for legitimate reasons. As for Stella Liebeck, she was not the driver. The car was not even in motion. She suffered third degree burns on her vagina from the coffee, which was served at a temperature between 180F and 190F, as required by McDonald's. And why was the coffee so hot, you may well ask? Liquids expand when heated. The high temperatures insured that more cups worth could be squeezed out every day from the same number of batches of coffee. The smoking gun was a McDonald's memo from some bean counter at corporate who calculated that even with lawsuits from burn victims, McDonald's would come out ahead monetarily. Stella Liebeck was originally awarded $30 million, but the amount was substantially reduced, and then the attorneys reached an out of court settlement for less than that. You should check things like this on or another like site before you post, and you should remove this post, lest anyone think it real.
Fay Paxton, Thanks for keeping up with the spirit of this thing.

RomanticPoetess, Yes I think an appeal is in order here.Thanks!

Mary Stanik, Thanks and your so welcome too!

mhold, Thanks for sharing that.

Jett Noire, Yes your words are so appropriate.Thanks

Beth Mann, Oh no would arrest you BM.Thanks!

grouchobeer OMg, Well thanks for the insight. Maybe I will.
LOL- Is it terrible that I could understand how someone could make the mistake with the motor home? LOL the other ones are just plain terrible- criminals should not be rewards with large bounties!! Great reporting- I've never heard of these awards, before. This was a fun post.
Could you hold on for just a minute.


Sorry for the delay but after reading that I needed a drink (poured with stolen intellectual property which I could be sued for.) before deciding how to respond.

If I see a Grazinski Motor Home on the road or off I'll be sure to leave the planet.

Also I'd like to nominate as a runner up the music industry and copyright lawyers for suing poor people who don't pay rich people when they distribute music and educational material that the public needs to participate in a sincere democracy.

good stuff. shows what humanity is all about //
in my newspaper today i read of a lady
who , while waiting for the train,
was struck down
by the flying corpse
of a fella jumping the tracks at the wrong time.
she sued the train company.
judge said, ah, could not have been foreseen//
Wow. Those are great. It's just amazing to me that people are that dumb and then sue someone else. But, the far more amazing thing - they got a jury to agree with their craziness and award them cash. Just wow.
I've read these before and scratched myself raw. I did it again as I read your post.