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All of the True Stella Award Winners 2002-2007
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Summary: The Stella Awards were created by Randy Cassingham to highlight the craziest lawsuits of the year. 

People might not remember the name Stella Liebeck, but they sure do remember what happened to her. In 1992, the then 79-year-old sued McDonald’s after spilling a cup of their coffee in her lap, which she had placed there while in the car. A New Jersey jury awarded her millions in damages for her pain and suffering, and the perceived ridiculousness of her case inspired the True Stella Awards to be born.


Founded by Randy Cassingham, the Stella Awards were a yearly roundup of head-scratching true lawsuits. According to the company website, the awards were meant to be “entertaining” but also something to ponder.

“Are the people involved in the cases we present to you (a juror in the Court of Public Opinion) using the courts to redress justifiable grievances that can’t otherwise be settled?” the Stella Awards website states. “Or are they trying to extort money from anyone they can? Are the lawyers involved champions of justice? …Or are they helping to abuse the system in the name of getting a piece of the action?”

The awards are now defunct, but they were given out in 2002 until 2007 and inspired The Fake Stella Awards, lists of crazy lawsuits that have been in circulation for years but unfortunately are not true.

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In honor of The Stella Awards, we’ve listed their grand prize winners from each year below.


Janice Bird, Dayle Bird Edgmon, and Kim Bird Moran, all sisters, sued their mother’s doctors after they visited the hospital with her. After mother Nita’s minor medical procedure went south, the sisters sued, but amazingly, not for malpractice. Instead, they focused on themselves and their own emotional distress at having to deal with watching their mother go to the emergency room, and the case made its way to the California Supreme Court, who ruled against them.


In 2003, cops were getting away with murder, just like they are now. However, the City of Madera, California was bestowed the 2003 Stella Award because not only did a Madera police officer accidentally kill a man, but they tried to blame the company that makes tasers in court for the cop’s action!

Madera police officer Marcy Noriega had a suspect handcuffed in the back of her cop car, and the suspect tried kicking his way out of the car’s windows. Officer Noriega wanted to subdue him with her taser, but she reached for her gun instead and shot and killed the man.

The city ruled that Officer Noriega was not at fault, and then they sued Taser, arguing that the weapons maker should pay any damages from the slain man’s wrongful death lawsuit.


While there have been personal injury or wrongful death cases filed against automobile makers, Mary Ubaudi of Illinois was given a Stella Award because she sued Mazda Motors, saying the car company failed to provide instructions on how to use a seatbelt. She asked for $150,000, and to try to get that dough, her attorneys had to argue that she had never used a seatbelt before in her life.


Christopher Roller claimed he was a god and he wanted professional magicians to pay him royalties because he allowed them to defy physics, something he allegedly created. He sued notable magicians such as David Blaine and David Copperfield, demanding they reveal their trade secrets or else pay a fee of 10% of their lifetime royalties.


Allen Ray Heckard believed he looked like the basketball star, Michael Jordan. Instead of just wanting compliments, though, he felt entitled to Jordan’s earning. He filed a lawsuit stating that he suffered from “defamation and permanent injury” because of the likeness, and he wanted $364 million in punitive damages from Jordan and $832 million from Nike, Jordan’s sponsor. Heckard, who was eight years older than Jordan and shorter and skinnier, later spoke with Nike’s lawyers, and they apparently scared him into dropping his big baller lawsuit.


The final Stella was given to Roy L. Pearson, Jr. who said that he wanted $65 million from the dry cleaners who lost his pants. What’s even crazier than that amount though is that Pearson was actually a judge from Washington, D.C.! The judge in Pearson’s case scolded him for presenting such a frivolous lawsuit, and the mom-and-pop cleaners were awarded damages. Pearson however really loved those pants and tried to appeal. He was later removed from the bench.

Source: The Stella Awards 

What do you think of these lawsuits? Let us know in the comments below.


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