You Be the Judge: The Case of the Christmas Hazard

Nov 27, 2017 | Allen A. Ritchie

Here is a real case that caught my attention — what would you decide?

Here are the facts:

A Florida family loved the holidays so much; they made their house into a Christmas wonderland. It included more than 200,000 lights, a 30-foot Christmas tree, a 20-foot Ferris wheel and a 20-foot inflatable movie screen that showed Disney movies.

The display drew more than two thousand people every year. The city police paid overtime to officers to help control the traffic going down the street. Some of the neighbors actually moved out of their homes (just for the holidays) to avoid the nightly craziness.

The city of Plantation, FL, which filed a lawsuit in February 2014, said the issue is about public safety. The lawsuit stated that the increase in traffic was an accident waiting to happen.

Action taken:

After ten years of this, the city tried to put a stop to the display by suing the family.

You be the judge.

• Florida Family
• Holiday Display
• More than 2,000 visitors
• Does the city have the right to stop the display?

The result:

After a four-day trial, the judge ruled that the display itself didn’t threaten public safety. There was no testimony or evidence that the family utilized their property in such a way as to result in injury–of the City or to its residents. The display can continue. The city estimates it has spent $427,002.09 in pursuing the case.

Over the years, the city has tried other legal tactics to reduce the display including code violations, mediation and even shutting down the street.

Enjoy the holiday season.

If you have questions especially about injury law including car wrecks, slip and fall and wrongful death, you can talk with the lawyers at Eiland and Ritchie for free. There is no cost until we collect for you. We want to help you get back on your feet.

Allen Ritchie
Personal Injury Attorney