Legal Briefs #39 – February 26, 2004

The new Stella Awards have been announced.

Randy Cassingham, creator of the annual Stella Awards for most ridiculous lawsuits of the year, has just announced his 2003 awardees.

#8 is Stephen Joseph of San Francisco, who earned national ridicule for annuncing a plan to sue Kraft for putting trans fats in Oreo cookies.

#7 is Shawn Perkins of Laurel, Indiana, who sued an amusement park for not warning him about the dangers of lightening when he was hit by lightening in the park’s parking lot.

#6 is Caesar Barber of New York City, who fruitlessly sued fast food restaurants so often for selling him fatty food that a judge barred him from filing again.

#5 is Cole Bartiromo of Mission Viejo, California, who was kicked off his high school baseball team after being accused of fraud. Bartiromo said he had planned on a pro baseball career and that being kicked off the high school team had ruined his pro opportunities.

#4 is Father David Hanser, who settled a sex abuse lawsuit with one of his victims and then violated its terms. When the victim complained, Hanser sued him for breaking the settlement’s confidentiality agreement.

#3 is Wanda Hudson of Mobile, Alabama, who was accidentally locked in a storage unit. Although the jury concluded the circumstances leading to the incident were nearly 100 percent Hudson’s fault, it still awarded her $100,000.

#2 is Doug Baker of Portland, Oregon, who sued a dog sitter for $160,000 after his dog escaped the sitter — even though the dog was recovered.

#1 and Winner: The City of Madera, California, which filed a lawsuit against the Taser corporation after police officer Marcy Noriega shot and kiled a suspect , thinking she was holding her Taser.

-by Amy Ridenour


The National Center for Public Policy Research is a communications and research foundation supportive of a strong national defense and dedicated to providing free market solutions to today’s public policy problems. We believe that the principles of a free market, individual liberty and personal responsibility provide the greatest hope for meeting the challenges facing America in the 21st century.