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TORT REFORM? - Phony Stella Awards Making the Rounds

There is an e-mail and webpostings making the rounds that appears to recount the "Stella Awards" for the year. These are awards named after 81-year-old Stella Liebeck, who spilled hot coffee on herself and successfully sued McDonald's (in New Mexico).

The purported winner this year is the following:

This year's runaway winner was Mrs. Merv Grazinski of Oklahoma City , Oklahoma. Mrs. Grazinski purchased a brand-new, 32-foot-long Winnebago motor home. On her first trip home from an OU football game -- having driven onto the freeway — she set the cruise control at 70 mph and calmly left the driver's seat to go into the back to make herself a sandwich. Not surprisingly, the RV left the freeway, crashed and overturned. Mrs.Grazinski sued Winnebago for not advising her in the owner's manual that she couldn't actually do that. The jury awarded her $1,750,000 plus a new motor home. The company actually changed its manuals on the basis of this law suit, just in case there were any other complete morons around.

But this case is an urban legend. I think we need tort reform. But these fraudulent examples are hardly going to make the case for it.

Update: I orginally fell for the hoax after receiving an e-mail from a senior law school faculty colleague of mine. I then essentially forwarded the e-mail to VC readers in a post of mine. I apologize for the error, which I have corrected in the above -- revised -- post.

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. Tort Reform Hoax
  2. TORT REFORM? - Phony Stella Awards Making the Rounds
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Tort Reform Hoax

This is an update to an earlier post. I fell for a hoax e-mail from a senior faculty colleague of mine, listing purported examples of outrageous tort awards. I circulated that e-mail as a post of my own. I quickly caught the error and have since corrected that post. I apologize for my mistake in giving further circulation to bogus examples.

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