heh heh! posted by

The Official Stella Awards.

The Official Stella Awards. The 2004 winner was Mrs  Mary Ubaudi of Madison County, Ill.,who is suing car maker Mazda for failing ‘to provide instructions regarding the safe and proper use of a seatbelt.’ Lovely. Silly, but lovely. 

 The Stella Awards were inspired by Stella Liebeck. In 1992, Stella, then 79, spilled a cup of McDonald’s coffee onto her lap, burning herself. A New Mexico jury awarded her $2.9 million in damages, but that’s not the whole story. Ever since, the name “Stella Award” has been applied to any wild, outrageous, or ridiculous lawsuits…our goal is to legitimize the “Stella Awards” name by reporting real case stories…to get the point across much more powerfully.

Red – who has written posts on The Red Ferret Journal.


6 Comments

  • These people are morons – the Stella Liebeck case was an entirely legitinate complaint. The coffee she spilled was superheated way above 100 degrees C and she suffered very very severe burns. There are stupid complaints but that one.

  • Actually L, that’s a bit unfair. If you look at their ‘not the whole story’ link, you’ll see a very balanced overview of the whole Stella case. They’re bending over backwards to be fair to all parties. In fact the coffee wasn’t superheated – that’s the temperature it’s meant to be at. Quote:

    ‘Here’s the Kicker: Coffee is supposed to be served in the range of 185 degrees! The National Coffee Association recommends coffee be brewed at “between 195-205 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal extraction” and drunk “immediately”. If not drunk immediately, it should be “maintained at 180-185 degrees Fahrenheit”. (Source: NCAUSA.)’

  • Tell you what, why don’t you take a sip of 185 degree coffee, and tell us how that tastes, or better yet, pour it on your genitals. The woman suffered 2nd and 3rd degree burns. That is too hot, and not safe no matter what the National Coffee Association says.

  • Ah no, I’m not condoning the temperature issue, I agree it’s FAR too hot, I’m just saying that the company shouldn’t necessarily be vilified if all it was doing was following established industry guidelines. I don’t know any of the facts, but I think that there are knee jerk reactions and measured ones. I’d rather be measured.

  • Industry guidelines get us things like strip mining, fen-phen, trucks that get 13 mpg, and farmed salmon that the FDA recommends you don’t eat more than once a month. All I am saying is that we as people and companies should be using common sense, not industry guidelines. McDonald’s knew how hot the coffee was when they handed it to her in her car, she did not. Sorry to go on and on about this, I really do love your site, but I thing it is wrong to make fun of a woman who was permenantly harmed through no fault of her own.

  • Q26, no you’re not going on, I understand totally and sorry if it came across as making fun of the lady. I *absolutely* do not make fun of people’s misfortunes, as long time readers will know. So sorry again.

    I originally posted the link because I didn’t think that the Stella site was in fact making fun, and I certainly intended her no disrespect. There were obviously problems with McDonalds in this instance (over 700 instances of boiling coffee scalding and the company did nothing? – sheesh!) but there are clearly other cases where people bring frivolous lawsuits for a quick profit. Those are the ones I believe the site is going after.

    Hope that clears things up, and thanks for the kind words about the Ferret. :-)

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