May it Please the Court:
Unlike the fake cases that have been highly circulated online for years, the following cases have been researched from public sources and are confirmed true by the only legitimate source for the Stella Awards: StellaAwards.com.
The 2002 True Stella Awards Winners
by Randy Cassingham
Issued 9 February 2003
- Attorney Philip Shafer of Ashland, Ohio, flew on Delta Airlines from New Orleans to Cincinnati and was given a seat, he says, next to a fat man. “He was a huge man,” Shafer says. “He and I [were] literally and figuratively married from the right kneecap to the shoulder for two hours.” He therefore “suffered embarrassment, severe discomfort, mental anguish and severe emotional distress,” he claims in a lawsuit against the airline. Shafer figures this embarrassment, discomfort, mental anguish and emotional distress could be cured by a $9,500 payment from Delta. If Shafer isn’t careful, that might be dwarfed by the divorce settlement his “huge” (seat)mate might demand.
- “The Godfather of Soul” James Brown has a “grudge” against his daughters Deanna Brown Thomas and Yamma Brown Lumar, they allege. They say Brown “vowed to the media that his daughters will never get a dime from him” and “James Brown has kept his word.” So they have done what any kid would do when cut off from their rich daddy’s bank account: they sued him for more than $1 million, claiming that they are owed royalties on 25 of his songs which, they say, they helped him write even though, at the time, they were children. For instance, when Brown’s 1976 hit “Get Up Offa That Thing” was a chart-topper, the girls were aged 3 and 6. It’s enough to make Brown switch to the Blues.
- Utah prison inmate Robert Paul Rice, serving 1-15 years on multiple felonies, sued the Utah Department of Corrections claiming the prison was not letting him practice his religion: “Druidic Vampire”. Rice claimed that to do that, he must be allowed sexual access to a “vampress”. In addition, the prison isn’t supplying his specific “vampiric dietary needs” (yes: blood). Records show that Rice registered as a Catholic when he was imprisoned in 2000. “Without any question we do not have conjugal visits in Utah,” said a prison spokesman when the suit was thrown out. Which just goes to prove prison life sucks.
- Every time you visit your doctor, you’re told the same old things: eat less, exercise more, stop smoking. Do you listen? Neither did Kathleen Ann McCormick. The obese, cigarette-smoking woman from Wilkes-Barre, Penn., had high blood pressure, high cholesterol and a family history of coronary artery disease. Yet doctors at the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center “did not do enough” to convince her to work to improve her own health. Unsurprisingly, she had a heart attack which, she says in a federal lawsuit, left her a “cardiac invalid”. In addition to eight doctors, she’s suing their employer — the U.S. government — demanding a minimum of $1 million in compensation.
- In 1997 Bob Craft, then 39, of Hot Springs, Montana, changed his name to Jack Ass. Now, he says that MTV’s TV show and movie “Jackass” was “plagiarized” from him, infringes his trademarks and copyrights, and that this has demeaned, denigrated and damaged his public image. No attorney would take the case, so he has filed suit on his own against MTV’s corporate parent, demanding $50 million in damages. If nothing else, Jack Ass has proved he chose his name well.
- Hazel Norton of Rolling Fork, Miss., read there was a class action suit against the drug Propulsid, which her doctor had prescribed to her for a digestive disorder. Despite admitting that “I didn’t get hurt by Propulsid,” Norton thought “I might get a couple of thousand dollars” by joining the lawsuit. When her doctor was named in the suit, he quit his Mississippi practice — where he was serving the poor. He left with his wife, a pediatrician and internist. That left only two doctors practicing at the local hospital. So while Norton wasn’t harmed by the drug, all her neighbors now get to suffer from drastically reduced access to medical care because of her greed.
- And the winner of the 2002 True Stella Awards: Sisters Janice Bird, Dayle Bird Edgmon and Kim Bird Moran sued their mother’s doctors and a hospital after Janice accompanied her mother, Nita Bird, to a minor medical procedure. When something went wrong, Janice and Dayle witnessed doctors rushing their mother to emergency surgery. Rather than malpractice, their legal fight centered on the “negligent infliction of emotional distress” — not for causing distress to their mother, but for causing distress to them for having to see the doctors rushing to help their mother. The case was fought all the way to the California Supreme Court, which finally ruled against the women. Which is a good thing, since if they had prevailed doctors and hospitals would have had no choice but to keep you from being anywhere near your family members during medical procedures just in case something goes wrong. In their greed, the Bird sisters risked everyone’s right to have family members with them in emergencies.
StellaAwards.com, In Pro Per
Note: The capsule summaries above are just that — very brief summaries of significantly longer case writeups at the link provided.
See Winners from 2003
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