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A Couple of Laughs

By Dian Vujovich

Whether or not the new stimulus plan will stimulate anything other than debt is unknown. The same is true of last year’s TARP bonanza. Most of that money already spent with no one really asking much about how or where it was going and little to nothing about eventually accounting for it.

So when it comes to spending, our government is very good at it —no matter which political party is in charge.

Move away from politics for a moment, our juries often like spending money too.

Remember the granny who spilled a hot cup of McDonald’s coffee between her legs? Supposedly she was awarded millions. Precisely how much has not been fully disclosed. That said, her first name, Stella, has become the moniker for stories relating to what-seem-hard-to-believe jury awards.

Since it’s a holiday, I thought you might enjoy a little light Stella Awards reading. All are from http://sbynews.blogspot.com/2009/01/2009-stella-awards.html :

“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.

“A Pennsylvania jury ordered a Philadelphia restaurant to pay Amber Carson of Lancaster $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.

“Terrence Dickson, of Bristol, Pennsylvania 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 days 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.

“Mrs. Merv Grazinski, of Oklahoma purchased a 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. Granzinksi 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 $1,750,000 PLUS a new motor home. Winnebago actually changed their manuals a result of this suit….”

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2009/02/20/business/0222-pay-graphic.html?ref=business and weep.

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