At a recent Palm Springs Women in Film and TV event, I overheard two women mistakenly discussing the facts. Like much of the public, they assumed Stella Liebeck bought a McDonalds cup of coffee and that she was at fault for placing the coffee between her legs.

The truth is that 81 year old Stella Liebeck did spill McDonalds hot coffee on herself while holding the cup between her legs. However, there is more to the story. After she successfully sued McDonalds for her burns, the world thought it couldn’t get worse. From this, the Stella Awards were birthed for the most outlandish lawsuits and verdicts in the USA.

However, a hidden fact is that McDonalds had received many complaints about their coffee being to hot. During the trial it came out that McDonalds had learned that coffee brewed at a higher temperature would yield more cups per bag of coffee. The result was a very large Jury award. Few people realize the judge cut the verdict drastically.

Some would argue, the also facetious and fictitious Darwin awards were the “yang” to Stella’s “ying”. It is thought that they were given to dummy’s who successfully removed their genes from the human gene pool. Some would argue that the winner was when a holdup man’s gun did not discharge and the dummy looked down the barrel and tried the trigger again. This time it worked and he was not around to be arrested.


As a young Public Defender, I was representing a young guy on a Possession of Drugs charge and got the case “dismissed” on a technicality, as I often did. When the Judge Dismissed the Case, my client yelled out “Judge, can I get my shit back”. I wanted to submit him for the Stella and Darwin awards, but there were more deserving dummy’s.

Some of the honorable mentions were when the Chef at a Swiss Hotel lost a finger in a meat grinder and the insurance man who came out tried it and also lost a finger. Needless to say they paid the claim.

There was also the case of the guy who shoveled snow for an hour to clear a space for his car during a blizzard in Chicago, and when he returned with his car a woman had taken his space. Understandably, he shot her.

After stopping for drinks at an illegal bar in another country, a bus driver found that his 20 mental patients had disappeared. He drove to the nearest bus stop and offered everyone a free ride. He then delivered these “sane” passengers to the mental facility explaining they were all agitated and making up stories.

A hold-up dummy went into a 7-11 and put a $20 bill on the counter and asked for change. The dummy pulled a gun and took all the money and left the $20. He got a total of $15.

A female shopper was robbed of her purse while exiting a store. The man was caught and the cops took him back to the store. The dummy was told to stand for a positive ID and when the lady showed up, he yelled out, yes, “that’s the lady” from whom I took the purse.

Then, there was the guy who walked into a Burger King and demanded cash. The clerk explained he could not open the drawer without a food order. The man then ordered fries and the clerk said they were not available for breakfast. The frustrated man walked away.

When a man attempted to siphon gas from a motor home, he got much more than he bargained for. The man was very sick as he had plugged his siphon hose into the motor homes sewage tank by mistake. When the police arrived he was “very” sick and the owner told the police he learned his lesson and didn’t have to be arrested.

Everyone loves Beer, and when a guy wanted some so badly, he threw a cinder block through a liquor store window. He planned to grab and run with the  booze. The block bounced and hit him on the head, knocking him out. He later learned the window was made of plexiglass and the whole event was recorded on camera.

Remember… They walk among us, they vote, and they breed!!

Dale Gribow is a “Boutique Concierge” CV PI/DUI firm with 25+ TOP LAWYER awards, 4 Dale Gribow Days, 9 Man of the Year, and awarded Mr. Charity. The limited caseload allows calls to be answered and returned the “Old Fashioned” way…by Dale, not an assistant.