The winners of the 2005 Stella Awards have been announced! What are the Stella Awards I hear you cry? Well, we've all heard the stories of the ridiculous litigation that goes on in the States (such as the one about the guy in the motorhome on the freeway - which is completely false). The Stella Awards were set up to recognise the most ludicrous pieces of litigation each year. They're named after Stella Liebeck, who successfully sued McDonalds for millions of dollars after she suffered burns when she put a cup of hot tea or something between her thighs for not putting warning signs on the machines/cups etc (now you know why there are warning signs there). Anyway, this year's best cases have been announced. They are only very short descriptions, and some on the humour is lost imo. I think you may be able to get longer descriptions on the full site ( http://www.StellaAwards.com ) , along with a list of ones that are totally fake ( http://www.StellaAwards.com/bogus.html ). So here we are then: #7: Bob Dougherty. A prankster smeared glue on the toilet seat at the Home Depot store in Louisville, Colo., causing Dougherty to stick to it when he sat down. "This is not Home Depot's fault," he proclaimed, yet the store graciously offered him $2,000 anyway. Dougherty complained that offer is "insulting" and filed suit demanding $3 million. #6: Barbara Connors of Medfield, Mass. Connors was riding in a car driven by her 70-year-old(!) son-in-law when they crashed into the Connecticut River, and Connors sank with the car. Rescue divers arrived within minutes and got her out alive, but Connors suffered brain damage from her near-drowning. Sue the driver? Sure, we guess that's reasonable. But she also sued the brave rescue workers who risked their lives to save hers. #5: Michelle Knepper of Vancouver, Wash. Knepper picked a doctor out of the phone book to do her liposuction, and went ahead with the procedure even though the doctor was only a dermatologist, not a plastic surgeon. After having complications, she complained she never would have chosen that doctor had she known he wasn't Board Certified in the procedure. (She relied on the phonebook listing over asking the doctor, or looking for a certificate on his wall?!) So she sued ...the phone company! She won $1.2 million PLUS $375,000 for her husband for "loss of spousal services and companionship." #4: Rhonda Nichols. She says a wild bird "attacked" her outside a home improvement store in Fairview Heights, Ill., causing head injuries. That's right: OUTSIDE the store. Yet Nichols still held the Lowe's store responsible for "allowing" wild birds to fly around free in the air. She never reported the incident to the store, but still sued for "at least" $100,000 in damages. In January 2006, the case was thrown out of court. #3: Barnard Lorence of Stuart, Fla. Lorence managed to overdraw his own bank account. When the bank charged him a service fee for the overdraft, he filed suit over his "stress and pain" and loss of sleep over the fee. A few hundred thousand bucks, he says, will only amount to a "slap on the wrist", whereas the $2 million he's suing for is more like being "paddled". Kinky! #2: Wanita "Renea" Young of Durango, Colo. Two neighborhood teens baked cookies for their neighbors as an anonymous gesture of good will, but Young got scared when she heard them on her front porch. They apologized, in writing, but Young sued them anyway for causing her distress, demanding $3,000. When she won(!!) $900, she crowed about it in the newspaper and on national TV. Now, she's shocked (shocked!) that everyone in town hates her for her spite, and is afraid she may have to move. But hey: she won. AND THE WINNER of the 2005 Stella Award: Christopher Roller of Burnsville, Minn. Roller is mystified by professional magicians, so he sued David Blaine and David Copperfield to demand they reveal their secrets to them -- or else pay him 10 percent of their lifelong earnings, which he figures amounts to $50 million for Copperfield and $2 million for Blaine. The basis for his suit: Roller claims that the magicians defy the laws of physics, and thus must be using "godly powers" -- and since ROLLER is god (according to him), they're "somehow" stealing that power from him.