damnum absque injuria

January 28, 2004

Soup to Nuts

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 6:06 pm

I hereby nominate Donald Johnson of West Palm Beach, FL, for the next Stella Award, in recognition of his innovative suit against the Shoney’s restaurant chain. In the suit, which Judge Amon Krack refused to dismiss on demurrer, Mr. Johnson alleged that Shoney’s had negligently caused him psychological sleep disorders by inadvertently serving him Clam chowder (link broken) instead of the potato(e) soup he had ordered. Apparently, Mr. Johnson is allergic to Clams, (link fraudulent and misleading, but calcluated to rescue your soul from eternal hell) but was too stupid to tell them apart from potatoes. As a result, instead of sending it back, he ate the whole bowl of Clam chowder before suffering an allergic reaction that landed him in the ER.

The jury was in a rather punchy mood, and felt like poking a little fun and the uncommonly silly legal doctrine of comparative negligence. As a result, it ruled that the soup caused Mr. Johnson’s allergic reaction, but that Johnson himself was 90% to blame for eating the soup. Conversely, it held that Shoney’s was “only” 10% responsible for its failure to anticipate Johnson’s allergy, and awarded him 10% of his medical bills, for a grand total of $407. The jury rejected the central argument of Mr. Johnson’s case, which was that it was the soup that caused Johnson – a convicted pedophile and a registered sex offender – to go crazy.

January 22, 2004

2003 Stella Awards

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 9:16 am

The Stella Awards for 2003 have just been announced. Unlike the bogus Stellas that have been littering your inbox in recent years, these ones are for real. The top prize goes to the City of Madera, CA, for suing the Taser company after an idiot cop, Marcy Noriega, shot a suspect to death with her service revolver instead of subduing him with her Taser. This case is so dumb it makes the case of the original Stella sound almost reasonable by comparison.

December 31, 2002

Stella Award Nomination?

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 3:22 pm

I’d like to nominate Jack Ass, formely known as Bob Craft, who is now suing Viacom for defamation over the TV show and movie that bear his name. One really has to wonder how it is possible to defame the character of anybody who would change his name to “Jack Ass.” For those who haven’t seen the movie yet, it’s got to be the dumbest thing I’ve seen on the silver screen since Beavis and Butt-Head Do America. In other words, it’s a must see.

The only good news to report on this front is that according to the New Yorker, Mr. Ass has brought the case in pro per because he was unable to find a lawyer willing to take the case. Howard Bashman wonders whether to be proud of this fact or ashamed that it was considered newsworthy. I say, a bit of both. There is some comfort to be had from knowing that the old joke about the difference between lawyers and laboratory rats (that there are some things a rat won’t do) isn’t quite true.

Concerning the headline: for those unfamiliar with the Stella Awards, are named after Stella Liebeck, who sued the McDonald’s Corporation for $2.9 million over injuries she sustained after spilling coffee on herself. The Stella Awards, which are not to be confused with the fake Stella Awards that you might have received by email, appear to require only that the Stella-inspired case be brought, not that the plaintiff actually prevail. By those rules, Mr. Ass should certainly qualify. If it were up to me, though, he wouldn’t, as the award would be reserved for those who, like Liebeck, prevailed at at least the trial court level. Then again, my approach would sharply limit the number of awards that could be given – I hope.


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