Are we,as a society, getting more stupid?

United States
February 9, 2008 8:17am CST
This was sent to me by my Dad through an email and it really got me to thinking ... So I thought since I can cut, copy and paste now would be the perfect time to see what you guys think .. Yeah I didn't have to retype everything like I was originally .. Have fun reading!!!! It's time again for the annual "Stella Awards"! For those unfamiliar with these awards, they are named after 81-year-old Stella Liebeck who spilled hot coffee on herself and successfully sued the McDonald's in New Mexico where she purchased the coffee. You remember, she took the lid off the coffee and put it between her knees while she was driving. Who would ever think one could get burned doing that, right? That's right; these are awards for the most outlandish lawsuits and verdicts in the U.S You know, the kinds of cases that make you scratch your head. So keep your head scratcher handy. Here are the Stella's for the past year: 7TH PLACE : Kathleen Robertson of Austin, Texas was awarded $80,000 by a jury of her peers after breaking her ankle tripping over a toddler who was running inside a furniture store. The store owners were understandably surprised by the verdict, considering the running toddler was her own son. 6TH PLACE : Ca rl Truman, 19, of Los Angeles, California won $74,000 plus medical expenses when his neighbor ran over his hand with a Honda Accord. Truman apparently didn't notice there was someone at the wheel of the car when he was trying to steal his neighbor's hubcaps. Go ahead, grab your head scratcher. 5TH PLACE : Terrence Dickson, of Bristol, Pennsylvania, was leaving a house he had just burglarized by way of the garage. Unfortunately for Dickson, the automatic garage door opener malfunctioned and he could not get the garage door to open. Worse, he couldn't reenter the house because the door connecting the garage to the house locked when Dickson pulled it shut. Forced to sit for eight, count 'em, EIGHT, days on a ca s e of Pepsi and a large bag of dry dog food, he sued the homeowner's insurance company claiming undue mental Anguish. Amazingly, the jury said the insurance company must pay Dickson $500,000 for his anguish. We should all have this kind of anguish. Keep scratching. There are more... 4TH PLACE : Jerry Williams, of Little Rock, Arkansas, garnered 4th Place in the Stella's when he was awarded $14,500 plus medical expenses after being bitten on the butt by his next door neighbor's beagle - even though the beagle was on a chain in its owner's fenced yard. Williams did not get as much as he asked for because the jury believed the beagle might have been provoked at the time of the butt bite because Williams had climbed over the fence into the yard and repeatedly shot the dog wit h a pellet gun. Grrrrr .. Scratch, scratch. 3RD PLACE : Third place goes to Amber Carson of Lancaster, Pennsylvania because a jury ordered a Philadelphia restaurant to pay her $113,500 after she slipped on a spilled soft drink and broke her tailbone. The reason the soft drink was on the floor: Ms. Carson had thrown it at her boyfriend 30 seconds earlier during an argument. What ever happened to people being responsible for their own actions? Scratch, scratch, scratch. Hang in there; there are only two more Stellas to go... 2ND PLACE : Kara Walton , of Claym ont, Delaware sued the owner of a night club in a nearby city because she fell from the bathroom window to the floor, knocking out her two front teeth. Even though Ms. Walton was trying to sneak through the ladies room window to avoid paying the $3.50 cover charge, the jury said the night club had to pay her $12,000....oh, yeah, plus dental expenses. Go figure. 1ST PLACE: (May I have a fanfare played on 50 kazoos please) This year's runaway First Place Stella Award winner was Mrs.. Merv Grazinski, of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, who purchased a new 32-foot 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 to the back of the Winnebago to make herse lf a sandwich. Not su rprisingly, the motor home left the freeway, crashed and overturned. Also not surprisingly, Mrs. Grazinski sued Winnebago for not putting in the owner's manual that she couldn't actually leave the driver's seat while the cruise control was set. The Oklahoma jury awarded her, are you sitting down, $1,750,000 PLUS a new motor home. Winnebago actually changed their manuals as a result of this suit, just in case Mrs. Grazinski has any relatives who might also buy a motor home. Are we, as a society, getting more stupid?
5 people like this
16 responses
@buwald (271)
• Netherlands
9 Feb 08
My first response was to chuckle slightly, but then again, i think this is stupid. i thought i had seen it all with the dog in microwave case (the owner wanted to dry it, and sued the company due to lack of a warning in the manual). whats next? olympic teams for suing? Im so glad that this trend hasnt come to holland yet, and i hope it never will.
2 people like this
• United States
10 Feb 08
Are you serious some idiot thought putting a dog in the microwave would dry it. what is this world coming to? You have the right idea olympic suing teams. could you just see that, no offense but I think the U.S. would win. LOl!!! We have to many people whosue for stupid common sense things. LOL!!!
@buwald (271)
• Netherlands
10 Feb 08
so true, so true, we dont have that problem much i Holland... awell, i guess its becoming a way to pass time now or something...
1 person likes this
• United States
10 Feb 08
Man I need a better hobby to pass time .. Let's go sue someone for i don't know anything? you come up with it and I'll run with it. LOL!!!!
@uath13 (8207)
• United States
9 Feb 08
Well now I know why those little silicon packages you find in your shoes say ( DO NOT EAT ). I wonder who actually was stupid enough to try that & how much they were awarded afterwords. All these people & the jury/judge who gave them their settlements/awards should be shot. Don't give them the chance to breed.
2 people like this
@Wario_1 (969)
• Sweden
9 Feb 08
I agre, shot them, decapitate them and them dump their bodies in hydrochloric acid. Or as Saddam says in Hot Shots 2, I will kill you until you die.
1 person likes this
• United States
10 Feb 08
LOL!!!! I think the people who award these people money need a psych evaluation.
@uath13 (8207)
• United States
10 Feb 08
Raises the question , Who's stupider?
2 people like this
@lightningd (1041)
• United States
9 Feb 08
I don't think your examples have as much to do with stupidity as they do with today's society being ready to sue for anything. Frivilous law suits bog down the court system to the extent that people with legitimate cases have to wait for months to get a court date. While I do believe that our children are getting short changed because of the No Child Left Behind regulations, and teachers having to spend more time doing test preparation on children, instead of being able to devote more classroom time to the basics, I don't think that has alot to do with people's propensity to sue. What about all those people who have faked "finding" things in their food. Like the lady who put the mouse in the soup, ect. People are becoming lazy, not stupid, why work when you can get someone to pay you for doing something stupid.
2 people like this
• United States
10 Feb 08
I see your point about people being sue happy I see it alot too. More people are willing to sue first fix problem later and actually they're even less incline to take responsibility for their actions .. The no child left behind has caused a managerie of problems. That is for another discussion all together.
@skinnychick (6907)
• United States
9 Feb 08
Stupid and greedy! Very Very greedy! Looking for a free ride. This was really good thanks for the laugh this morning!
• United States
10 Feb 08
No problem I thought this would be a good laugh.
• United States
10 Feb 08
And it was...
1 person likes this
• United States
10 Feb 08
I couldn't stop laughing when my dad sent me this I thought is was the funniest thing that people would actually allow this to happen. LOL!!
@polachicago (19073)
• United States
9 Feb 08
Yes, we are. Give any case to lawyers and you are instant winner. People don't fallow rules and expect others to look at their shoulder like angels. Should I sue someone for burning my finger on the open fire when gas is on "on" position? For sure I would be the winner...it wasn't on my stove instructions manual...
1 person likes this
• United States
10 Feb 08
I can't say give a case to a lawyer and your an instant winner Ihave seen some that just don't work and I have seen many that do work. It's all about who's listening and making the decision.
@polachicago (19073)
• United States
10 Feb 08
you are right...
1 person likes this
@livewyre (2455)
10 Feb 08
It's possible that the stupid people were always there, but now they have 'rights'. There is a level of society that expects someone else to always be responsible, this is because so-called developed countries take care of these people. In the wild untamed times before the society that we know existed these people would be Lion-fodder. Out of the cave and straght down the mouth of the nearest predator. These people would have starved in the wild whilst sheltering under a tree because they had not built a hut, or poisoned by the first bit of fruit or mushroom that they picked. These imbeciles should have been naturally de-selected, but we have fed them, educated them, taught them to drive and given them housing and food for their kids...and shown them that courts hand out a LOT of money on whim - a court case to them is very like a lottery ticket, you might win millions... There was a case I heard about in New York where a drunken person living on the street decided to end it all by jumping in front of the A train. The driver was naturally slowing as he came into the station and managed to stop short of killing the jumper. The jumper then sued the Subway and got a cool million for his severed leg awarded by a jury in a poor district who felt that they could strike a blow for the little man - this has developed into something more like striking a blow for the stupid. One day the inherently stupid could have their own anti-discrimination laws. By which time this response will have earned me a jail sentence (and probably a hefty fine since the stupid people are turning into a lever for lawyers to make loads of money)
1 person likes this
• United States
10 Feb 08
Thank you for your response I appreciate it. I do see your point. I hate to say it but one vulture gets through they all start coming out of the wood working. LOL!!!
@mummymo (23707)
9 Feb 08
I can't write what I actually think as it would be deleted by mylot but what the he11 are people thinking of??? Theses people are all either extremely stupid and /or breaking the law and they are rewarded for this? What kind of people are they putting in juries across the pond in the states? Ludicrous, have all the jurors just been let out of the asylum for the day? xxxx
1 person likes this
• United States
10 Feb 08
to be truthfull honest I would like the answer to those questions also. LOL!!!
@Sissygrl (10915)
• Canada
9 Feb 08
lol! Maybe the lawyers are getting smarter!! But these ARE all in the US!! lol that's gotta say something.... lol. We should try to find one for other countries, see if its a worldly occurance!!
1 person likes this
• United States
10 Feb 08
I hand you the research mantile if you find something that has to do with these kind of lawsuits out in other countries let me know.
• United States
9 Feb 08
We as a society aren't getting more stupid, it is just more of the smart people are noticing and saying things about it now. lol
1 person likes this
• United States
10 Feb 08
ok point taken!
@piatos03 (396)
• Philippines
10 Feb 08
Wonderful post. This has been really hilarious to read. I didn't even know that these kinds of frivolous lawsuits happened in real life. We see it on the media all the time and just assume that it can't be happening. I don't agree with the society getting more stupid though. In a way, they've actually wizened up and taken advantage of the constitution. I mean, they sued and WON. That's pretty smart of them. Or not. They could have just gotten an Alan Shore-ish kind of lawyer. He's this lawyer from Boston Legal who takes the craziest cases and most of the time wins. These days, it's all about the lawyers and less about the case. You'd think that the people suing are pretty stupid to even waste a cent at suing someone for something so frivolous, but you get the best lawyer in town and voila, they can find a loophole into the constitution. Also, if they have the charismatic impact to seduce a jury, then you've got the case bagged. You can't say that the jury is stupid either. Ever watched the movie Runaway Jury? Juries these days are easily bribed or threatened. It could happen either way. So no, I think your country's getting a whole lot smarter in the smarmiest of ways. If anyone is to be blamed for being stupid, I think it'd have to be the judge to even agree on having the case push through. Or the clerk that's handling the arrangement of things. You could tell me if I'm wrong. Maybe we have a different constitution.
• United States
10 Feb 08
I don't know what your constitution is in the philipines, but I don't think that these were based on breaking the constitution as much as trying to prove that these companies where liable for these issues. I think that everyone that is involved and let's this continue helps create more problems than good. But you do bring up a good question can juries be easily influenced out side of the courtroom...
@piatos03 (396)
• Philippines
11 Feb 08
I'm not talking about breaking the constitution, I'm just talking about using it to your own advantage and finding loopholes to win your case. A possible scenario for how juries can be influenced can be seen on Runaway Jury. You should watch it. http://imdb.com/title/tt0313542
• United States
11 Feb 08
thank you for the movie suggestion.
@vera5d (4006)
• United States
12 Mar 08
these are great (as for being funny!) yet so terribly awful at the same time!! what is wrong with our justice system? do you know where these stories came from or where i could read more? It would be interesting to see what other dumb lawsuits have been awarded...I think everyone can agree how stupid people are getting...or maybe they are smart for knowing they can get away for suing someone for their own negligence?
• United States
13 Mar 08
you know they are so funny but wrong and I agree that these people either have to be really dumb and the lawyers they hire have to be very smart to get them this kind of money for their own negligence. Like the mom who trip over her own kid? I wonder what this world is coming to. Everyone seems to be sue happy anymore. grrrr.
@deebomb (15322)
• United States
10 Feb 08
After reading all these awards I have decided that I am in the wrong business. I fell in a grocery store a couple of years ago because some one had sprayed something on the floor. Maybe I should have sued instead of just getting up and signing a release saying I was ok. But really these law suits are so stupid. The juries and judges are even even more so. These are crooks and shouldn't be rewarded for hurting them selves. Maybe these people are smarter than we think . They came out ahead.
• United States
11 Feb 08
I think we all need to change professions as proven here in the discussion. LOL!!!!
@SViswan (12071)
• India
10 Feb 08
Certainly sounds like we are! and I think we should use the head scratcher on the jury - what were THEY thinking?
• United States
10 Feb 08
Exactly my point how could they let it go that far????? I'm totally speachless almost.
@richux (119)
• Lithuania
10 Feb 08
What else do you want from them, after all they are Americans.
• United States
10 Feb 08
You are entitled to your opinions. But these are just examples that were emailed to me maybe I'll do some research to see if this is happening elsewhere. But I could almost guarentee it's not only americans .. May I ask why you look so negatively upon us Americans.
@bdugas (3581)
• United States
10 Feb 08
Don't know if these 5 items are stupid or they smarter than we are. They got the money while we just fall over our kid and go on, who would think to file a lawsuit over it.
• United States
10 Feb 08
I don't know I would have never thought of it .. LOL!
@Amberina (1541)
• United States
10 Feb 08
Sounds to me like all those people who sued and got a ton of money aren't that stupid after all, they have the money and I don't even have enough for gas most of the time....-Amberina
• United States
10 Feb 08
Amberina, I see what you're saying but what I was attempting to point out is everyone ivolved stupid for letting it go this far.