Kathleen Robertson of Austin, Texas was awarded $780,000 by a jury of her peers after she broke her ankle tripping over a toddler who was running amok inside a furniture store. The owners of the store were understandably surprised at the verdict, considering that the misbehaving tyke was Ms. Robertson's son.
19-year-old Carl Truman of Los Angeles, California won $74,000 and medical expenses when his neighbor ran over his hand with a Honda Accord. Mr. Truman apparently did not notice there was someone at the wheel of the car when he was trying to steal the hubcaps.
Terrence Dickson of Bristol, Pennsylvania was leaving a house he had just finished robbing by way of the garage. He was not able to get the garage door to go up since the automatic door opener was malfunctioning. He could not reenter the house because the door connecting the house and garage had locked when he pulled it shut. The family was on vacation and Mr. Dickson found himself locked in the garage for eight days. He subsisted on a case of Pepsi he found and a large bag of dry dog food. He sued the homeowners' insurance company, claiming the situation had caused him undue mental anguish. The jury agreed, to the tune of $500,000.
Jerry Williams of Little Rock, Arkansas was awarded $14,500 and medical expenses after being bitten on the buttocks by his next-door neighbor's dog. The beagle was on a chain in its owner's fenced yard. The award was less than what was sought because the jury felt the dog might have been a little provoked at the time, as Mr. Williams, who had climbed over the fence into the yard, was shooting the beagle repeatedly with a pellet gun.
A Philadelphia restaurant was ordered to pay Amber Carson of Lancaster, Pennsylvania $113,500, after she slipped on some soda & broke her tailbone. The beverage was on the floor because Ms. Carson had thrown it at her boyfriend 30 seconds earlier during an argument.
Kara Walton of Claymont, Delaware sued the owner of a night club in a neighboring city when she fell from the bathroom window to the floor and knocked out two of her front teeth. This occurred while Ms. Walton was trying to crawl through the window in the ladies room to avoid paying the $3.50 cover charge. She was awarded $12,000 and dental expenses.
This year's winner was Mr. Merv Grazinski of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Mr. Grazinski had purchased a brand new Winnebago motor home. On his trip home from a football game, having driven onto the freeway, he set the cruise control at 70 mph and calmly left the driver's seat to go into the back and make himself a cup of coffee. Not surprisingly, the motor home left the freeway, crashed, and then overturned. Mr. Grazinski sued Winnebago for not advising him, via the owner's manual, that he actually could not do this. The jury awarded him $1,750,000 plus a new Winnebago motor home. The company changed their manuals on the basis of this suit just in case there were any other complete morons buying their recreation vehicles.
Thanks go out to my adored stepfather for providing this amusing information while I'm busy chasing copywriting deadlines like a cat on a hot tin roof. (I know it's Streetcar where Stanley yells, "Stella!", but you get my point, right?)