Frivolous Lawsuits and the "Stella" Award

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Brian Mansure, Aug 2, 2002.

  1. Brian Mansure

    Brian Mansure Second Unit

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2000
    Messages:
    460
    Likes Received:
    0
  2. Dana Fillhart

    Dana Fillhart Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 1999
    Messages:
    977
    Likes Received:
    0
    I agree with the ridiculous-ness of all the ones mentioned in the main page of the site -- except the one the site (and awards) was named after. I support the jury verdict against McDonald's in favor of Stella Liebeck. However, I think there's already a thread that's talking about this sort of stuff...
    (IBTL [​IMG])
     
  3. Trace Downing

    Trace Downing Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 1999
    Messages:
    510
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Tampa Bay
    Real Name:
    Trace Downing
    Yes, the suits are ridiculous, and that was a pretty good, if quite incomplete expose of it.[​IMG]
    The rest of that website... "Mortar Wall" or something like that is something else entirely. Who runs that site is a nasty, hateful demagogue. [​IMG]
     
  4. SteveA

    SteveA Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    May 25, 2000
    Messages:
    700
    Likes Received:
    0
    That woman who spilled the hot coffee on her lap should not have been awarded one red cent!
     
  5. Brian Perry

    Brian Perry Cinematographer

    Joined:
    May 6, 1999
    Messages:
    2,807
    Likes Received:
    0
    I have a hard time believing the suits listed there. If true, everyone in his or her right mind would be outraged. But I can't imagine any jury--even in today's litigious society--giving a thief $500,000 because he couldn't escape a garage and had to live on Pepsi. It just couldn't happen, unless there were other mitigating circumstances.
     
  6. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 1999
    Messages:
    6,873
    Likes Received:
    2
     
  7. SteveA

    SteveA Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    May 25, 2000
    Messages:
    700
    Likes Received:
    0
    McDonald's had nothing to do with Stella's decision to put that cup of piping hot coffee between her legs. That was just asking for trouble. Perhaps McDonald's was partially responsible, but I think covering Stella's medical expenses alone would have been a more reasonable verdict. Personal responsibility should still count for something.
     
  8. Bill_Weinreich

    Bill_Weinreich Second Unit

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2000
    Messages:
    317
    Likes Received:
    0
     
  9. BrianB

    BrianB Producer

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2000
    Messages:
    5,205
    Likes Received:
    1
     
  10. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 1998
    Messages:
    21,763
    Likes Received:
    2
     
  11. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 1999
    Messages:
    6,873
    Likes Received:
    2
     
  12. Bhagi Katbamna

    Bhagi Katbamna Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2000
    Messages:
    870
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hey, this is the USA, anyone can sue anyone else for anything. The trial lawyers pump millions of dollars(read bribe both political parties--but one more than the other) to make sure that this continues.
     
  13. Steve Enemark

    Steve Enemark Second Unit

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 1997
    Messages:
    482
    Likes Received:
    0
    I doubt any of these cases (except the McDonald's one) really happened. And if they did happen, there is a lot more to the story.

    No sources + unbelievable stories = urban legends.
     
  14. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 1999
    Messages:
    16,738
    Likes Received:
    129
    Re the attorney-bashing: Please note that HTF can claim many attorneys as members, including one of the admins. In fact, he has already chimed in here.
     
  15. SteveA

    SteveA Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    May 25, 2000
    Messages:
    700
    Likes Received:
    0
    I did a little reading on the McDonalds coffee case, and sure enough, there are a lot of details that the media left out. I still disagree that the woman deserved millions for an incident she is at least partially responsible for. I'm glad to see the judgement against McDonalds was reduced to a less stratospheric amount.
     
  16. BrianB

    BrianB Producer

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2000
    Messages:
    5,205
    Likes Received:
    1
     
  17. Charles J P

    Charles J P Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2000
    Messages:
    2,049
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Omaha, NE
    Real Name:
    CJ Paul
     
  18. Brian Perry

    Brian Perry Cinematographer

    Joined:
    May 6, 1999
    Messages:
    2,807
    Likes Received:
    0
    The closest thing to the McDonald's coffee case I can think of was the Rachel Barton incident, which happened here in the Chicago area.

    Rachel Barton, a young violinist, was riding a suburban Metra train and for whatever reason didn't realize until the last minute that she was at her stop. She was carrying a purse and a violin case containing a prized violin purportedly worth over $500,000. The conductors had already begun closing the doors and Ms. Barton, in her rush to get out, got the violin case snagged on the door. Instead of releasing the case and being physically safe, she held on as the train began to slowly move away (and these trains move VERY slowly at first). She eventually fell, and one of her legs was partially severed. She sued Metra, and was awarded $26 million.

    I compare it to the McDonald's case for the following reasons:

    1. The jury concluded that the injury was partially caused by the woman's negligence, as in the Stella case. But of course, when you are dealing with astronomical monetary amounts, that means you can still recover tons of money (e.g., sue for $10 million, be found 30% at fault, and still get $7 million.)

    2. The defendants (Metra and McDonald's), regardless of fault, were extremely unlucky in the circumstances surrounding the respective cases. How was McDonald's to know that an eighty-year old woman (likely with more delicate skin than most people) would spill coffee in her lap in a car while wearing sweat pants? The reason she sustained the burns she did was because of the temperature PLUS the duration of the coffee touching her skin. While McDonald's was at fault for the temp, the real damage was due to the unfortunate fact that her clothing kept the coffee confined to her skin.

    Likewise, Metra may have been a little lax in checking to make sure no one was trying to make a late escape from the train. But in their wildest dreams do you think they thought someone carrying a priceless violin would get it caught in the door and then end up choosing the violin over her own safety?

    I guess my point is that in both cases, a little corporate negligence plus a little personal negligence plus a LOT of bad luck equals huge lawsuit judgments.
     
  19. Mitty

    Mitty Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 1999
    Messages:
    886
    Likes Received:
    5
    I'm on Philip/Michael etc.'s side on this one.

    Show me a so-called frivolous law suit story as reported by the media, and I'll show you a story half told (at best).

    Every time I see a rant about one of these cases, I can't help rolling my eyes. Why do people buy these stories (yes, stories) hook, line & sinker?
     
  20. SteveA

    SteveA Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    May 25, 2000
    Messages:
    700
    Likes Received:
    0
    I read about another McDonalds lawsuit a while back involving a hot pickle. A woman claimed that she was scarred on the chin by a hot pickle falling from a burger. She sued, as did her husband - for losing the "services" of his wife or something like that. Anyone heard about that case? I remember hearing about it through legitimate news sources, but I don't know what the resolution was.
     

Share This Page