Liability ??

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by John Allin, Aug 3, 2002.

  1. John Allin

    John Allin LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,488

    If this isn't evidence of a world gone haywire, what is?

    The "Stella" Awards rank up there with the Darwin Awards. They are named for Stella Liebeck, the 81-year-old woman who spilled coffee on herself and successfully sued McDonalds. This case inspired the annual "Stella" for the most frivolous lawsuit in the U.S.

    Here are some candidates from past years:

    1. January 2000: Kathleen Robertson of Austin, Texas was awarded $780,000 by a jury of her peers after breaking her ankle when she tripped over a toddler who was running around inside a furniture store. The owners of the store were understandably surprised at the verdict, considering the misbehaving little bugger was Ms. Robertson's own son.

    2. June 1998: 19-year-old Carl Truman of Los Angeles won $74,000 and medical expenses after his neighbor 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 tried to steal his neighbor's hubcaps.

    3. October 1998: After robbing a house in his home town of Bristol, Pennsylvania, Terrence Dickson exited by way of the garage. However, he was unable to get the garage door to go up because the automatic door opener was malfunctioning. He couldn't reenter the house because the door connecting the house and garage had locked when he pulled it shut. The owners of the house were 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. He sued the homeowner's insurance, claiming the situation had caused him undue mental anguish. The jury agreed to the tune of half a million dollars.

    4. October 1999: Jerry Williams of Little Rock, Arkansas was awarded $14,500 and medical expenses after being bitten on the buttocks by his next door neighbor's beagle, which was on a chain in its owner's fenced-in yard. The award was less than sought because the jury felt the dog might have been just a little provoked by Mr. Williams, who was shooting it repeatedly with a pellet gun.

    5. May 2000: A Philadelphia restaurant was ordered to pay Amber Carson of Lancaster, Pennsylvania $113,500 after she slipped on a soft drink and broke her tailbone. The beverage was on the floor because 30 seconds earlier Ms. Carson had thrown it at her boyfriend during an argument.

    6. December 1997: Kara Walton of Claymont, Delaware successfully sued the owner of a night club in a neighboring city when she fell from the bathroom window to the floor and knocked out her two front teeth. This occurred while Ms. Walton was trying to sneak through the bathroom window to avoid paying the club's $3.50 cover charge. She was awarded $12,000 and dental expenses.

    And the winner is:

    Merv Grazinski of Oklahoma City. In November 2000 Mr. Grazinski purchased a brand new 32-foot Winnebago motor home. On his first trip home, having joined the freeway, he set the vehicle's cruise control at 70 mph and calmly left the driver's seat to go into the back and make himself a cup of coffee. Not surprisingly, the Winnie left the freeway, crashed and overturned. Mr. Grazinski sued Winnebago for not advising him in the owner's manual that he couldn't actually do this. He was awarded, $750,000 plus a new Winnie. (Following the verdict Winnebago revised their handbooks, just in case there are any other complete morons thinking of buying their vehicles.)
  2. That's what the morons in the US leave us to find a way to get the easy money.

    If these law suets were never paid this **** would never happen.

    Here is ST Louis a black women working at Buger King could not find a baby sitter so she brought her kid to work and let it play in the jungle gym room. The child had climbed passed the guards fell and died in the room unattended by the mother becuase she was working.

    She successfully sued BK for $1 million dollars, BK is appealing the verdict.

    I hope she does not get paid.
  3. BigJim

    BigJim LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 382

    By contrast down here all the above would receive,free medical treatment of there injuries and 80% of their normal salary until they could return to work.Thats it,no massive settlements,no right to sue,no lawyers getting rich.What is the cost to your economy with these unbelivable settlements and who pays up all the money for them?.
  4. KenH

    KenH LawnSite Bronze Member
    from CT
    Messages: 1,622

    And people wonder why insurance rates are astronomical.
  5. Tony Harrell

    Tony Harrell LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 739

    John, the answer for these is called "tort reform" and I'd like to see "loser pays" included. The trial lawyers have a strangle hold on us though. My personal experience 2 years ago, my neighbor went to the magistrate about my "barking dogs". It was really about the privacy fence I was installing and his well being within 10 feet of it. I'd lived here for 3 years with no problems before all of this. I thought I could represent myself in district court, big mistake. Judges are lawyers too, and they don't like it if you try to represent yourself. The long and the short of it is, I appealed to superior court (with a jury!!!) and WON! It cost my neighbor nothing to make a complaint but, it cost me $1800 in attorney fees. The kicker was, he tried to get all the other neighbors to testify on his behalf but they ended up testifying for me. The complaint and the letter of absolution from the district attorney is framed on my office wall. I won't go into a courthouse without an attorney (even though I despise them), and he will be from a different county too.
  6. LawnLad

    LawnLad LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 738

    What's the biggest (or one of the largest) lobbies in Washington DC? Trial lawyers. And as you said Tony, judges are lawyers too. Talk about job security - stir up the bees nest, create a few problems, get paid to argue both sides of the issue and let the public foot the bill.

    Do attorney's create value in the economy? Or do they simply sponge off the economy and redistribute wealth? I can not think of one positive addition attorney's make to economy. Unlike a manufacturing company, a hard goods store, a service company, etc.

    Maybe I'm not seeing the value they create and someone can enlighten me.
  7. kris

    kris LawnSite Bronze Member
    from nowhere
    Messages: 1,578

    These cases really are disturbing .... Tony, count your blessings that your lawyer only cost you $1800 ... a reasonably good lawyer here will cost you $250 per hour and goes up from there. A case that went to supreme court would cost you 10's of thousands
  8. Sean Adams

    Sean Adams LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,597

    I don't know if this exactly relates but I was just reading something the other day that made me laugh.

    A wealthy businessman bought some expensive illegally imported cigars. He got an insurance policy on the cigars for whatever reason.

    The he decided to smoke them all and pass them out, all before the insurance policy kicked in (or something like that....). He turned around and decided to collect on the insurance policy because the cigars were lost (he smoked them....). I guess a jury actually awarded him payment for the cigars when the insurance company refused to pay.

    But the insurance company got him good....they turned around and had him arrested for arson. I thought it was funny.

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