Wii radio contest fatality results in $16.5 million verdict

Mother-of-three's surviving family wins lawsuit against organizers of "Hold Your Wee for a Wii" promotion.

by

The family of a California woman who died trying to win a Wii in a radio contest has been awarded $16.5 million in its suit against the station, according to the Associated Press.

When the Wii debuted in November of 2006, demand for the system far outstripped supplies, leading some people to go to extremes to get their hands on one. One such person, Jennifer Strange of Rancho Cordova, California, entered a January 2007 "Hold Your Wee for a Wii" radio contest with the system as a grand prize.

After drinking an estimated two gallons of water without urinating or vomiting, the 28-year-old mother of three told a colleague that she felt sick and had a "really bad" headache. She was later found dead in her suburban home, apparently from water intoxication. Drinking excess amounts of water causes the problem of too little sodium in the body (hyponatremia) and can cause swelling of the brain, vomiting, headaches, seizures, coma, and, in extreme cases, death.

In the wake of Strange's death, the Sacramento Bee reported that the radio station DJs joked during the contest about people dying of water intoxication, going so far as to say, "Maybe we should have researched this." A listener to the show also called in to warn about the dangers of water intoxication, which the show hosts dismissed, saying it was OK because the contestants signed releases.

The station fired 10 employees after the contest, and the Sacramento County District Attorney's office decided not to press criminal charges in the matter.

Discussion

95 comments
WheelerJared
WheelerJared

And the winner of this years Darwin award is...

jackson2415
jackson2415

If someone is that stupid to drink that much water for something material, no matter what it is, then it probably happened for a reason: stupidity.

 

And the judge that awarded money to the family of the "victim" (if you can call her that) needs to have a lesson in individual freedom. No one forced this person to do this.

 

This was not WATER BOARDING.

 

Ha.

Sohereiam
Sohereiam

Actually there are even cases of oxygen poisoning too.

BlueFlameBat
BlueFlameBat

So did they use any of that lawsuit money to buy a Wii?

bigcrusha
bigcrusha

lol I remember reading this a few years back, I actually laughed. I think they were all idiots and the radio show hosts ESPECIALLY, not only were they warned but they proceded on humiliating a faithful listener in there own amsuement. My condolences to the family, a win well deserved but I think this could have been prevented if everyone used their noodle once in a while...

Oloryn
Oloryn

Wow, I'm actually amazed at how many people are talking as if the woman is still alive and did it for money. Was entering such a dangerous contest smart to do? Of course not, but I'd like to think she clearly wasn't educated enough on the dangers of that much water, and that doesn't change the fact that a woman died and her family is left without her. Say whatever you want, but even the money doesn't make that change. As for the station, it was unacceptable for them not to research the danger they put their contestants in, and even then, dismiss the idea of any actual harm.

gatsbythepig
gatsbythepig

Woah! I remember this story, it is tragic. I have always wondered though where they come up with numbers like 16.5 million dollars. I mean you can't place a monetary value on life. People may be able to figure in health costs and how much someone makes to give a rough estimate of money that the person may have accrued. But $16,500,000 is an absurd number that this person would have never earned. How do I know this? If she was making anywhere close to that, she wouldn't have been involved in a ridiculous competition for a Nintendo. Don't get me wrong, this is tragic and I think the radio station is somewhat culpable. Not to mention the children, husband and other relatives in the unfortunate situation in which they were left. Also I have found out that many times a judge issues this type of mandate the defendants don't usually even pay this amount. Somehow, they only pay pennies on the dollar....................................................................................................... In the end, no one was criminally charged for a woman's death, but the family made a ton of money. How does any of this make sense? This is just another reason I don't trust legal documents, lawyers or the court system.

DrKill09
DrKill09

I remember hearing of this case years ago. Gotta love our slow ass court system. Anyway, glad they won.

Sharhan96
Sharhan96

sad.....real sad to see people die just to win a wii..

akiwak
akiwak

Too much of any ONE thing can kill you.

Darth_Starwind
Darth_Starwind

The radio station was probably too focused on embarassing people that they let common sense go out the window. Seriously one trip to an online medical site would have told them that the contest was a bad idea. They're just darned lucky that more people weren't hurt.

hatieshorrer
hatieshorrer

I have to put this info out (The release signed by the radio contestants didnt explain water intoxication) it was a generic release that only said the radio station wasnt responsible for any health problems caused from being in the contest. The woman who died probably had no idea she was doing something that could kill her.

Shadowsnake
Shadowsnake

'Us Americans'? This coming from someone that says 'can get more idiot'? Not all us are as 'idoit' as you have it seem so grouping Americans together for stereotypical insults when you own grammer or understanding is sorely lacking is more 'idiot' to say the least. On the content of the radio contest judgment, your damned right the family should get that money. The fact that so many employees were in on it thinking it was ok to make fun of people and NO ONE in the upper tiers of management supposedly knew about this stunt that gets planned in advance ususally? Yeah right....Pwned

gamerboy100
gamerboy100

@ geedotherodian: Isn't that an ironic name for the radio station?

JoaoAl
JoaoAl

boy just when you think americans can get more idiot bammmmm

BlueFlameBat
BlueFlameBat

@Nabsol I think if they knew what the risks really were, they wouldn't have held the contest in the first place. I'm sure they explained what risks they knew, which is why she signed a release form ... which turned out to have no effect.

dresdek
dresdek

seems like a hefty combination of stupidity and greed, from both radio show and participant. I'm wondering why the organizers are being held accountable though..

FallenOneX
FallenOneX

So we no longer have to responsibility for or action as Americans, just sue someone when you do something stupid that results in injury? While I do agree the radio station should have done some research, so should any contestant.

ebonyflame
ebonyflame

The American justice system FAILS again. A person not being held responsible for their own actions. Maybe I should do something stupid and blame somebody else also, maybe I can cash in on my own stupidity.

monson21502
monson21502

i remember when i was younger me and a few friends would drink water as fast as we could so we could throw up. if we burped water would gush out. we used to think it was so funny. turns out we could have died from it:shock:

monson21502
monson21502

@nabsol, who in the world woulda thought she could die from drinking water? i ever ever hear is water is good for you. drink at least 5 glasses a day. blah blah

monson21502
monson21502

hope my mom tries to win me a wii hd next year.

Nabsol
Nabsol

Did they tell her the risks of this contest?

Nabsol
Nabsol

@BlueFlameBat The radio station. Nintendo had nothing to do with this.

BlueFlameBat
BlueFlameBat

So who got sued? The radio station or Nintendo? It is very unfortunate what happened, but it does make me wonder what the purpose of release forms are if they don't protect someone from getting sued like they're supposed to.

KittyHeart
KittyHeart

dumb radio station DJs who are those guys? im sure they have 0 education about anything ugh, they didnt even pass high school!

sebetai
sebetai

well i knew drinking too much water can kill you, but i didn't know how much.

Viralmessiah666
Viralmessiah666

this is like the Mcdonalds coffee thing,i say if you're stupid enough to take a steaming hot cup of coffee,take off the lid,put it in your lap,then pop the clutch,screw you,i hope you die

chano7
chano7

That´s a really poor thing risking your life for a Stu... machine even it´s not the end of your life if you don´t play the Wii of some console thera a lot of things to do but risking for that i don´t thinks so

aldrenar47
aldrenar47

ItchyIsVegeta: The radio station has an obligation to inform people of any serious risks involved in things like this when they are not obvious. How many people know that you can die from drinking too much water? A decent percentage of people perhaps, but certainly not everyone. A lot of people probably think you would just need to pee really bad. Why did they not at least have medical crew on hand to make sure no one had ingested a fatal amount? Your example of someone choking in a hot dog eating contest is not the same thing. Everyone knows that you have to chew food before swallowing it. It's not like you can enter a race and then sue the people running it when you trip and hurt yourself. Those are risks everyone knows. If the world worked the way you wanted it to, someone could hold contests to kill unsuspecting people just for fun. Oh, you didn't know the mushrooms in my mushroom eating contest were poisonous? Too bad for you...

AgreedTech
AgreedTech

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

USMC575
USMC575

wiis suck...thats all im sayin

GNWPCD
GNWPCD

I don't even know what to say. I don't know which is worse.. the schlock jock loser DJ who came up with this *honk honk* wacky contest or the people who actually are silly enough to do them. May the mother rest in peace but I really don't even know what else to say.. this is really just a sad state our society is in when you hear things like this from both ends involved.

Triton
Triton

Never have stupid people done so many stupid things for so much money... can't wait to see how much the Gitomo folks get us for...

daabulls23
daabulls23

This is sad...the whole way around.

Sam-os_IMP
Sam-os_IMP

Man.. humans are so fragile its pathetic.

ItchyIsVegeta
ItchyIsVegeta

Ask yourself this: If the radio station would have put a gun to her head and forced her to drink water to death, would the family been able to sue for the money? Sure, someone would have went to jail. But she made a choice to do the contest. What if it was a hot dog eating contest and she choked on the hot dog? When are people going to take responsibility for their own actions?

Sn00pyBrown
Sn00pyBrown

This is what happens down in America very sad. All she wanted to do is get a children a wii.

dukerav
dukerav

While I feel for the woman's family and her children, I think she should have really thought long and hard about what she would be getting into. With that said however, I have no remorse for either the DJ's or the radio station which they worked for. They should most definitely have researched this before issuing it as a contest for a Wii.

Strategygamer22
Strategygamer22

Who in their right mind would be that desperate for a Wii?

-Canas-
-Canas-

LOL gotta love America where the life of an idiot is equal to that of 16.5 million dollars, yet body armor is much too expensive for soldiers.

Sepewrath
Sepewrath

Well I guess those release didn't hold up, huh? I guess thats what happens when you mock legitimate warnings on the air. Though the decision makers at the radio show are morons for coming up with such a ridiculous contest without any idea of the repercussions. Though those involved in the contest are not clear of blame, they should have been more aware of what they were getting into and ignored the warnings the same as the radio station. However a jury will more than likely always side with person vs the corporation especially in a case where the person died.

geedotherodian
geedotherodian

I remeber that, I live in Rancho Cordova, the radio station was 107.9 "the end"

dapman418
dapman418

stupid radio station thats just uncalled for... but this is sorta the thing that i would see on the news, not a gaming website....

CamiKitten
CamiKitten

Huh, I can't tell who had less brains in this, the woman or the radio DJ's.

LanceCypher
LanceCypher

 @jackson2415 Your lack of compassion is truly astonishing. You realize this woman is dead. Her flesh is rotting in the ground. The station had a responsibility to notify the contestants of potential harm, which they must not have done if they lost the suit. You should be ashamed of yourself. Have some damn respect.

jackson2415
jackson2415

Does someone need to notify someone else to not over-eat? And if they over-eat and become obese, should the fast food chain pay them to get healthy?

 

Or does someone need to notify someone else that it is harmful to jump out of an airplane even with a parachute? It's harmful to corss 6 lanes of busy traffic. Should the city be responsible for some idiot that gets himself or herself killed while doing it?

 

No. It's called personal responsibility. When did it become okay for people to blame someone else for choices their family members made?

 

The family and the judge should have some respect for actual law. Not frivolous lawsuits that only encourage greed and waste money on trials.

 

Don't pretend to have compassion for something. You say oh that's horrible and sad, and then you go right back to eating dinner without giving it a second thought.

 

I am a realist.

LanceCypher
LanceCypher

 @jackson2415 Think what you like about me personally (although it doesn't make any difference as this is a video game forum) but jumping out of a plane or walking across a busy highway are vastly different things from holding it.

         I'm not saying that anyone else should have been held responsible for her personal actions, but the radio station had a responsibility to notify the contestants of possible risk. People who skydive sign release forms because of potential risk, and jaywalking is against the law because of potential risk. There have been cases made against fast food chains for making their food exceptionally unhealthy, although that didn't make much sense in the first place. Your examples are flawed at best.

        More than anything, I just thought you were rude and disrespectful. I also don't think her's and the radio station's mistakes were 'horrible' or 'sad', but rather unfortunate and avoidable. However, she did have three kids that don't have a mom anymore, and that is both horrible and sad.

 

P.S. The fact that I'm responding to your comment means that contrary to your belief in my personality, I did give it a second thought.