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The Stella Awards

For those unfamiliar with these awards, they are named after 81-year-old Stella Liebeck who spilled hot coffee on herself and successfully sued McDonald's in New Mexico, where she purchased a takeout coffee. You remember, she took the lid off the coffee and put it between her knees while she was driving. Who would ever think one could get burned doing that, yeah right? That's right; these are awards for the most outlandish lawsuits and verdicts in the U.S. You know the kind of cases that make you scratch your head. So keep your head scratcher handy.

This year's runaway First Place Stella Award winner was:

Mrs Merv Grazinski of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, who purchased a new 32-foot Winnebago motor home. On her first trip home, from an OU football game, having driven on to the freeway, she set the cruise control at 70 mph and calmly left the driver's seat to go to the back of the Winnebago to make herself a sandwich. Not surprisingly, the motor home left the freeway, crashed and overturned. Also not surprisingly, Mrs Grazinski sued Winnebago for not putting in the owners manual that she couldn't actually leave the driver's seat while the cruise control was set. The Oklahoma jury awarded her, are you sitting down? $1,750,000 PLUS a new motor home.

Winnebago actually changed their manuals as a result of this suit, just in case Mrs Grazinski has any relatives who might also buy a motor home.

“The Franchise Coach” asks, is it time to review your franchise manuals ?

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