The 2006 Stella Awards are out.

The Stella Awards are awarded to the most outrageous lawsuits from the past year.

Reading them is always … educational.

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 live outside.

#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: 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, Reprinted with permission.

Be aware that several e-mails are in circulation that claim to be Stellas — but aren’t — you can check the Stella website for a list of bogus cases in the e-mails.


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7 thoughts on “The 2006 Stella Awards are out.”

  1. And the saddest thing? In *every* case there was a lawyer willing to take the case to court for a piece of the action…..

    I’d really like to know if any of the law-scum involved were sanctioned by the courts or the Bar for filing such dreck.

  2. Who in the HELL would want to let ANYONE know they’d lost a fight with a squirrel?

  3. #2 proves that Ayn Rand wasn’t just a clever fiction writer and neeto political philosopher, but a freakin’ profit.

    Nostrodamas hasn’t proved to be as accurate.

  4. After reading the 2004, 5, and 6 cases, I shudder when I realize the lawyers and jurors are also eligible to VOTE in elections.

  5. IMO,

    #5:Marcy Meckler…Shouldn’t she be suing the squirrel? Lol, labrat…good point.

  6. I can’t wait until I’m a court reporter and I can laugh quietly to myself as I actually see what the idiots look like who would actually bring this crap to court!

  7. The grand prize winner, ironically enough, had to be instructed as to how a real defamation of character case works… by having the NIKE lawyers explain that he had none, but that after he filed his brief, they would have excellent public documentation of one.

    If you had a rich and famous doppleganger, couldn’t you figure out a better way to use that?

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