In 1994, a New Mexico jury awarded $ 2.9 million U.S. in damages to 81-year-old Stella Liebeck who suffered third-degree burns to her legs, groin and buttocks after spilling a cup of McDonald's coffee on herself.
This case inspired an annual award -- The "Stella" Award -- for the most frivolous lawsuit in the U.S. The ones listed below are clear candidates. All these cases are verging on the outright ridiculous and yet (in the good old U.S.A.) with the right attorney you could win anything!
1. January 2000: Kathleen Robertson, of Austin, Texas, was awarded $780,000 by a jury of her peers after breaking her ankle tripping over a toddler who was running amuck inside a furniture store. The owners of the store were understandably surprised at the verdict, considering the misbehaving little imp was Ms. Robertson's son.
2. June 1998: 19-year-old Carl Truman, of Los Angeles, won $74,000 and medical expenses when his neighbour ran over his hand with a Honda Accord. Mr. Truman apparently didn't notice there was someone at the wheel of the car, when he was trying to steal his neighbour's hubcaps.
3. October 1998: 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, because the automatic door opener was malfunctioning. He couldn't re-enter the house because the door connecting the house and garage locked when he pulled it shut. The family was on vacation. 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. Mr. Dickson sued the homeowner's insurance claiming the situation caused him undue mental anguish. The jury agreed to the tune of half a million dollars.