I’ve long been a fan of Randy Cassingham’s True Stella Awards which note lawsuits and legal decisions that are, well, stupid.
The 2006 True Stella Awards
Issued 31 January 2007
(Click here to
confirm these are legitimate.)
#5: Marcy Meckler. While shopping at
a mall, Meckler stepped outside and was “attacked” by a squirrel that
lived among the trees and bushes. And “while frantically attempting
to escape from the squirrel and detach it from her leg, [Meckler]
fell and suffered severe injuries,” her resulting lawsuit says.
That’s the mall’s fault, the lawsuit claims, demanding in excess of
$50,000, based on the mall’s “failure to warn” her that squirrels
#4: Ron and Kristie Simmons. The
couple’s 4-year-old son, Justin, was killed in a tragic lawnmower
accident in a licensed daycare facility, and the death was clearly
the result of negligence by the daycare providers. The providers were
clearly deserving of being sued, yet when the Simmons’s discovered
the daycare only had $100,000 in insurance, they dropped the case
against them and instead sued the manufacturer of the 16-year-old
lawn mower because the mower didn’t have a safety device that 1) had
not been invented at the time of the mower’s manufacture, and 2) no
safety agency had even suggested needed to be invented. A sympathetic
jury still awarded the family $2 million.
#3: Robert Clymer. An FBI agent
working a high-profile case in Las Vegas, Clymer allegedly created a
disturbance, lost the magazine from his pistol, then crashed his
pickup truck in a drunken stupor — his blood-alcohol level was 0.306
percent, more than three times the legal limit for driving in Nevada.
He pled guilty to drunk driving because, his lawyer explained, “With
public officials, we expect them to own up to their mistakes and
correct them.” Yet Clymer had the gall to sue the manufacturer of his
pickup truck, and the dealer he bought it from, because he “somehow
lost consciousness” and the truck “somehow produced a heavy smoke
that filled the passenger cab.” Yep: the drunk-driving accident
wasn’t his fault, but the truck’s fault. Just the kind of guy you
want carrying a gun in the name of the law.
#2: KinderStart.com. The
specialty search engine says Google should be forced to include the
KinderStart site in its listings, reveal how its “Page Rank” system
works, and pay them lots of money because they’re a competitor. They
claim by not being ranked higher in Google, Google is somehow
infringing KinderStart’s Constitutional right to free speech. Even if
by some stretch they were a competitor of Google, why in the world
would they think it’s Google’s responsibility to help them succeed?
And if Google’s “review” of their site is negative, wouldn’t a
government court order forcing them to change it infringe on Google’s
Constitutional right to free speech?
And the winner of the 2006 True Stella
Award: Allen Ray Heckard. Even though Heckard is 3 inches
shorter, 25 pounds lighter, and 8 years older than former basketball
star Michael Jordan, the Portland, Oregon, man says he looks a lot
like Jordan, and is often confused for him — and thus he deserves
$52 million “for defamation and permanent injury” — plus $364
million in “punitive damage for emotional pain and suffering”, plus
the SAME amount from Nike co-founder Phil Knight, for a grand total
of $832 million. He dropped the suit after Nike’s lawyers chatted
with him, where they presumably explained how they’d counter-sue if
he pressed on.
©2007 by Randy Cassingham,
StellaAwards.com. Reprinted with permission.