Mar 272011
Authors: Lydia Jorden

The name “Stella Award” originates from a case in which the jury awarded Stella Liebeck about $2.86 million in damages after Liebeck negligently spilled hot coffee on herself while moving in her car.

She placed the hot cup of coffee between her legs and when the car moved forward, the coffee spilled, completely scalding her. Liebeck claimed her victory after arguing that the coffee was too hot and that McDonalds failed to warn her of the heat.

This famous lawsuit is not the only case that makes us, functioning human beings, question how the law system operates.

Imagine being paid $80,000 in damages for falling over your own child. Kathleen Robertson did just this. She broke her ankle while tripping over her child who was running around inside a furniture store. Robertson sued the furniture store and the jury awarded her a settlement.

Sounds like it is time for me to pop out an energetic toddler who enjoys running in front of me.

Reviewing my notes on the Stella Awards, taken in my BUS260 (Business Law) class, has led me to believe that this may be the lesson I should value most. It is essential for college students to understand Stella cases so in the event we do something completely negligent and end up getting hurt, we can sue for damages. I’ll be paying off my tuition until I’m 50, so I can use all the help I can get.

Outlined below are many more cases you can consider to pay off you loans.

Though, if you’re not interested in having your children do your dirty work, like Robertson in the previous case, an individual can always turn to theft — it pays off.

Carl Truman was stealing hubcaps off a neighbor’s car when his hand was run over by the very car he was stealing from. Truman, convincing the jury that he was the victim of the incident, was awarded $74,000 in addition to the medical costs he endured. I wonder if he bought hubcaps with his settlement?


So, theft isn’t your thing?

Bad dates are inevitable and easy to find, especially for someone as sexy as you, my reader. Retaliate if your horrible date leaves you to pick up the entire check.

Amber Carson slipped on the wet floor of a restaurant. Her fall resulted from the drink she had just thrown at her date a few seconds earlier because of an argument.

End result: broken tailbone. The jury found the restaurant liable to pay Carson $113,500.
Though many speculate the validity of these cases, they have, indeed, resulted from the stupidity of our fellow Americans. These cases sound completely ridiculous and made me question my business law professor about how our law system can be so corrupt.

Because the jury consists of our peers — similar to you and me —, they find sympathy in the individuals who bring these cases to court. They vote in favor of the individual suing because they look at it with an understanding toward an individual and loathing toward big business.

Folks, don’t settle for your insurance to cover the expenses when you break a few bones during that “Slip‘n Slide” party you decided to have. Instead, sue the manufacturer, Wham-O, for damages! You may end up getting a few million dollars.

Tuition? Paid in full.

Until next time, I am off to remove the safety mat from the bottom of the shower and break my neck.

See you in court.

Lydia Jorden is a sophomore business major. She is currently a contender for the Stella Award after accidently stepping on her bear spray, releasing potent chemicals around her room. Her column runs Mondays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be reached at

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