I am a U.S. citizen. I have lived here, in the U.S. all my life. I have paid my taxes, taken care of my bills and have held a job. Does this entitle me to demand that someone pay me money without me putting in the time to earn it? Should I quit my job, sue whoever I can find as the object of my scorn? When did our society go from hard-working, get what you give, people to a country with those that have their hand out, wanting someone else to pay the bill.
News Flash: There is no such thing as a free lunch. Or is there?
Who knew: In 1994, Stella Liebeck rode with her grandson to get her morning coffee. After purchasing her morning fix of coffee, her grandson parked the car and she proceeded to open the beverage container to put in her sugar and cream, spilling the contents. At this point, she received third degree burns and McDonald’s was the proud owner of a multi-million dollar lawsuit. Did the courts throw this out after hysterical laughter? No, in fact this case went to trial and Stella won the lawsuit. How did a person who has lived for 79 years miss the lesson that coffee is hot and care is needed when handling? Was coffee cooler back in the day? This $.49 cup of coffee paid out $640,000. And I play the lotto for $2 a chance. This was not the first frivolous lawsuit to be presented to the court but thanks to modern media, this was one of the first widely publicized. The ridiculous settlement not only gave Stella a windfall but also prompted a yearly award named in her honor, The Stella Awards. These awards are given to those that hijack our legal system for frivolous lawsuits. Does it end here? Not quite.
Where are my pants: Roy L. Pearson filed suit against his dry cleaner for losing his pants. Many have been upset at the mistakes that happen to our favorite appeal at the local dry cleaners but, Pearson felt that his mental anguish and loss was worth $67 million. Did I happen to mention that Pearson was an Administrative Law Judge? Thankfully, Pearson lost this lawsuit. It does remind me though, I would like to find and sue the young lady that still has my Bat Out of Hell: 2 concert t-shirt from the 90s. I still haven’t found it since she wore it. That has to be worth at least a few million bucks.
No good deed: In Durango, Colorado, two good-natured teenagers created a care package of yummy goodies for their neighbor. They didn’t even want credit for it; they were delivering it anonymously. As they stepped on the porch, Wanita Young was started by their presence. So started, that the ungrateful resident sued the teens, even though they gave a written apology to Wanita. Was it because she didn’t like the cookies? No, she sued them for causing her undue distress; $3,000 worth of stress for stepping on her front porch. Surprisingly, the court awarded her a sum of $900 from the neighborhood do-gooder. That will teach them to help someone. I wonder how much I can get for the siding sale people who interrupt my Saturday afternoon television shows.
We can all appreciate legitimate legal action. However, our over-burdened courts are flooded daily with people trying to get a hand-out from those that have more. This only happens because of people like Stella, who are able to win unreasonable cases. As long as courts allow for such lawsuits to continue, we will have more people attacking otherwise hard-working individuals and companies. These s actions are causing higher insurance rates for businesses and higher costs to us.
S the next time you have too much to drink and run your car through the local auto parts store, just call your lawyer. You can sue the bar who sold you the alcohol, the auto manufacturer for not having a warning against driving while intoxicated, the police for not catching you and the auto parts store for being in your way. I see millions in your future.
Until next time…
For more interesting Stella Awards, go to The Stella Awards