Saturday, July 12, 2008

Stella Awards Exposed!

Received an email yesterday about the so-called illustrious Stella Awards, apparently so named after an 81-year old woman called Stella Liebeck who took the lid off a coffee she had just bought from a McDonalds in New Mexico, USA, and then proceeded to put the cup between her knees while she was driving. The coffee inevitably spilled all over her and she in turn successfully sued McDonalds. The email then went on to outline seven cases that typified this brand of justice. Here's an example of number seven on the list:
Kathleen Robertson of Austin, Texas, was awarded $80,000 by a jury of her peers are breaking her ankle tripping over a toddler who was running inside a furniture store. The store owners were understandably surprised by the verdict, considering the running toddler was her own son.
I was suitably amused and shocked but also rather skeptical about the content of the email, as I have come across fake emails before. Turns out my instincts were correct. Another person on the circulation list provided a link to the Rumor Has It website, which exposes the Stella Awards and the claim of "six outrageous-but-real lawsuits showcas[ing] the need for tort reform" as being utterly false. 

This is a fabulous website and I'm adding it to my 'must read' list. Some of the categories that dispell myth, legend and innuendo and that I'll be reading first include: Disney, Titanic, Weddings, Critter Country, Hurricane Katrina, and Lost Legends. Check it out, folks!


This is True said...

The fake "Stella Awards" have been debunked for years on both Snopes and at

Yet MOST bloggers just post the fake e-mail with the same old "ain't in awful?" introduction on it, as if the cases are really true.

So to you: congratulations for CHECKING FIRST! Maybe 1 out of 100 bother, and justify it when someone calls them on it. Hurray for the few smart bloggers!

Julie said...

Thanks for the heads up on the other debunking website. It pays to have an internal skeptic filter at times, and it's also good to have resources you can use to check if the information in email circulation is true.