Named after the woman who sued McDonalds for serving coffee that was too hot, the Stella Awards are presented each year to the most amazingly idiotic court cases from the previous year. If you think the O.J. verdict was crazy, wait until you read the winner. It’s beyond belief.

#7: Bob Dougherty. A prankster smeared glue on the toilet seat at the Home Depot store in Louisville, Colo., causing Dougherty to stick to it when he sat down. “This is not Home Depot’s fault,” he proclaimed, yet the store graciously offered him $2,000 anyway. Dougherty complained the offer is “insulting” and filed suit demanding $3 million.

#6: Barbara Connors of Medfield, Mass. Connors was riding in a car driven by her 70-year-old(!) son-in-law when they crashed into the Connecticut River, and Connors sank with the car. Rescue divers arrived within minutes and got her out alive, but Connors suffered brain damage from her near-drowning. Sue the driver? Sure, we guess that’s reasonable. But she also sued the brave rescue workers who risked their lives to save hers.

The full list



  1. Tss Fan says:

    A interesting side note to the “Stella” of these awards.

    My Cousin was a Crew Trainer at the McDonalds store in question, He was working the “first” window were you are supposed to pay, The woman Drove past his window and up to the second window were the worker assuming she had already paid handed her the coffee, by the time my cousin had walked up to say “she forgot to pay” the woman had sped off.

    Stella claimed in court documents that she had every intention to pay and didnt know she was supposed to stop at the first window, the reason she sped away was because she spilled the coffee. HOWEVER, My cousin said as they are trained to “please pull up to the first window” The person who actualy handed her the coffee said “she didnt have any money inhand that I could see” and in the initial report she said that she spilled the coffee while pulling out into the street, NOT while at the window.

    Thats right, she sued over coffee she spilled on herself that she stole.

  2. david says:

    America’s Values:

    1. $ MONEY $
    2. Consumerism/Materialism
    3. God
    4. Family
    5. Patriotism

    People who file frivolous laswsuits are 100% IDEAL Americans. They should be saluted for their sacrifice to public humiliation in their pursuit of patriotism.

    Patriotism: n : love of country and willingness to sacrifice for it.

  3. Dan says:

    Easy fix loser pays all costs.If that wouldn’t work nothing will.Judges could fix it but won’t because they know how tough it is to make it as a lawyer.It is why they entered public service.

  4. Don says:

    David: God’s too high on your list.

  5. Ferdinand says:

    As with most everything endlessly forwarded, the actual Stella and McDonalds story is not well known. The Consumers Attorneys of California has their version at :
    http://caoc.com/CA/index.cfm?event=showPage&pg=facts

  6. Mike says:

    As Ferdinand mentioned in #8, read the real story. McDonald’s was
    doing something that it knew was dangerous, that had already caused serious burns to people, but chose not to rectify
    a serious safety hazard. Or would it have been OK if they’d published
    a warning? “We keep our coffee very hot so it will taste better when it
    finally cools down enough to drink, but if you accidentally spill it on
    yourself before it cools, it will cause third degree burns and you
    may require skin grafts. Have a nice day.” WTF???

    Yes, there are frivolous lawsuits, but also keep in mind that the fear of
    big lawsuits could be the only think keeping corporations from selling
    dangerous products. It all comes down to money. If they think they’ll
    pay less in lawsuits to the survivors than it will cost to fix it, they won’t
    fix it.

    Think about it.

  7. Dave Drews says:

    I wonder if McDonald’s has ever been sued since the Stella lawsuit over selling coffee that isn’t hot.

  8. Lou says:

    OK, Mike I’ll think about it.

    What if I ordered tea? The recipe for making hot tea says pour in BOILING WATER, and let steep. (anybody who ever tried to make tea from the hot water dispenser on water coolers, which is generally at 180degress or so, knows that tea tastes terrible using them).

    Are you saying that every establishment that serves tea can not let the customer out of sight until it cools to 140 degrees?

    Or are you saying that since everyone knows tea is served with boiling water, that if Stella ordered tea, she’d have no case.

    “Yes, there are frivolous lawsuits, but also keep in mind that the fear of
    big lawsuits could be the only thing keeping corporations from selling
    dangerous products.”

    I’m not disagreeing with you, but the problem with the McD’s Coffee lawsuit was that it violated everybody’s common sense and sense of fairness.

    “It all comes down to money. If they think they’ll pay less in lawsuits to the survivors than it will cost to fix it, they won’t fix it.”

    We are all going to pay for it, one way or the other, eventually.

  9. Mr. Fusion says:

    but the problem with the McD’s Coffee lawsuit was that it violated everybody’s common sense and sense of fairness.

    What common sense did “Stella’s Coffee lawsuit” violate? Let see,
    she was a passenger in the car (not the driver);
    the restaurant super heated their coffee to 185 deg. so they could get more yield per pound;
    they didn’t have any beverage trays that day;
    the cups are so thin that they could not be held by hand until they have cooled;
    the lids fit so tightly on the thin walled cups that it was difficult to remove the lid without spilling some coffee;
    McDonald’s had had hundreds of similar incidents before this so they were well aware of the problem;
    The McDonald’s Quality Manager that took the stand agreed that keeping the coffee at 185 posed a danger but stated flat out that they had no intension of changing their practice;
    at 170 deg. liquid will cause third degree burns in as little as three seconds;
    McDonald’s was aware of at least 700 people, including adults, children, toddlers, and even infants who had been scalded by McDonald’s coffee;
    and the car wasn’t moving at the time, the woman was trying to remove the lid to add the cream and sugar;
    she spent eight days in the hospital and later underwent several skin grafts;
    McDonald’s had recently settled out of court for $230,000 to a California woman for the exact same thing.

    Oh, did I mention, she offered to settle for $20,000, her medical costs after eight days in the hospital with third degree burns. McDonald’s offered $800. It ended up costing McDonald’s about $650,000 after losing in court. The judge said McDonald’s conduct was reckless, callous and willful.

    So take your pick.
    http://caoc.com/CA/index.cfm?event=showPage&pg=facts
    http://freerepublic.com/focus/f-chat/1287038/posts
    http://www.vanosteen.com/mcdonalds-coffee-lawsuit.htm

  10. Mr. Fusion says:

    Everyday in this country, there are millions of products and transactions performed. It is rare that a product or transaction is actually defective and the hurdle to win in court is a steep one. Yet there are those that suggest all products are being sued because they are defective. This is not only untrue, it is fear mongering. It is an attempt to turn the tables from a corporation’s responsibility to produce and market safe products to the consumer’s responsibility because they bought it.

    The Stella Awards will not tell you the outcome of the cases unless you pay them. Therefore you don’t know if the case was thrown out, if the plaintiff was given court and defense attorney costs, if it actually went to trial, or even if the summaries are accurate. Yet the majority of people reading these blurbs will think a jury actually awarded some obscene amount of money. To that end I suggest everyone reread post #6.


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