Imaginary Cases & Urban Legends: The Stella Awards Debunked
The "Stella Awards" is a collection of urban legends and fake legal cases designed to perpetuate the myth that there is a 'lawsuit crisis' in America. Advocates of limited legal rights have been circulating these make-believe cases for years, using fake examples to underme public confidence in our legal system.
Facts About Stella Liebeck's Case
The fictitious "awards" are named after an elderly woman who was severely burned due to the negligence of a greedy corporation. A number of lies about her case have spread via email, but in fact:
The "Stella Award" Is Meaningless
Searches for news stories or the actual legal cases have turned up nothing. Even StellaAwards.com claims many of the Internet stories are fabricated. Among the imaginary cases:
How to Spot a Fake
While phony emails like the "Stella" chain letter are a common problem on the Internet and even in mainstream newspaper articles, they all share one characteristic—no citation to a source.
More Than Harmless Jokes
Urban myths like the "Stella Awards" aren't just cute or harmless jabs at trial lawyers and our legal system. They clearly are part of a massive disinformation campaign designed to undermine Americans' confidence in our legal system and to benefit powerful corporate interests at the expense of average people harmed by corporate wrongdoing and indifference.
What You Can Do
In your letter, you can debunk the myth or ask the sender for more details, especially if no case names or citations are mentioned. Most often these details cannot be provided because they do not exist.
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