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The Indiana State Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Section partnered with the James C. Kimbrough Bar Association to sponsor their first program together, “Santa’s Been Sued.” The educational program, which included gifts for 15 underprivileged children in northwestern Indiana, took place Dec. 17 in Lake Superior Court.
The children were chosen based on their affiliation with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Northwest Indiana in Gary.
The court portion of the program is based on the premise that Christmas could be canceled after Ebenezer Scrooge, a fellow resident of the North Pole and represented by Charles Dickens, sued Santa Claus for property damage caused by Santa and his reindeer on Dec. 24, 2009. Scrooge also claimed in his suit that he suffered from emotional distress and mental anguish as a result.
In the court order, Judge Rudolph Reindeer found that Santa owed Scrooge $500. The attorneys who organized the event sought the $500 to help Santa so he could still deliver the toys to children around the world on Christmas Eve.
The Kimbrough Bar Association had received at least $700 to pay for toys for the kids, and expected at least a few more checks to come in. Anything received after the event will be donated to the Boys & Girls Club of Gary, said Michael Tolbert, one of the event organizers and past president of the Kimbrough Bar Association.
Tolbert said the event was organized to serve as a positive experience for kids who usually would only be in court when something bad has happened. The visitors also got a tour of the courthouse, looked into the judge’s chambers, and Lake Superior Judge William E. Davis made an appearance in the role of Santa.
Following is partial text of the complaint in Ebenezer Scrooge v. Santa Claus, No. 56Z09-TC-1670, filed in North Pole Superior Court in Iceberg, Alaska, as it was written by event organizers and posted on the ISBA’s website:
1. The Plaintiff, Ebenezer Scrooge (“Plaintiff”), is a resident of Iceberg, North Pole County, Alaska.
2. The Defendant, Santa Clause (“Defendant”), is also a resident of Iceberg, North Pole County, Alaska.
3. On or about December 24, 2009, the Defendant entered upon the premises of the Plaintiff.
4. The Defendant was not invited nor did he have permission to be on the Plaintiff’s premises.
5. While the Defendant was on the premises of the Plaintiff he carried a large, red sack and was also accompanied by animals.
6. The Defendant had a duty, when entering on to the Plaintiff’s property, not to cause property damage.
7. The Defendant breached his duty and failed to exercise reasonable care when entering upon the Plaintiff’s property in one or more of the following ways:
a). intentionally and recklessly caused damage to the Plaintiff’s chimney; and
b). intentionally and recklessly left reindeer foot prints on the Plaintiff’s property;
8. As a result of the Defendant’s conduct, the Plaintiff has incurred property damage and has suffered from emotional distress and mental anguish.
9. The Defendant’s conduct was the proximate cause of the Plaintiff’s damages.
WHEREFORE, the Plaintiff, Ebenezer Scrooge requests that this court enter judgment in his favor for compensatory damages, property damage and all other just and proper relief in the premises.•