Santa Strikes Back

Uh-oh, Christmas is over and  the old man in the red suit decided to retaliate over the lawsuit filed against him by the children of the world. Originally appeared in the December 2001 issue of the ABA Journal.

Harmless Error - A Truly Minority View on the Law

Santa Strikes Back

BY ANDREW J. McCLURG

Readers may recall that holiday cheer was dampened two years ago when the children of the world filed a class action against Santa Claus (Santa Suit, Jan. 2000). That action remains pending as thousands of judges who have received gifts from the defendant continue to recuse themselves. Now Mr. Claus is fighting back with his own class action:

Santa Claus, Plaintiff

vs.

Children of the World, Defendants.

Complaint

Plaintiff, Santa Claus, aka St. Nick, Kris Kringle and Father Christmas, sues John and Jane Does 1-3 billion and alleges:

1. This is an action for damages and equitable relief.

2. Plaintiff is a jolly old soul engaged in a complex enterprise of global commerce.

3. Defendants consist of the class of all kids in girl and boyland, including infants tender and mild, who have received merchandise from plaintiff over the years without compensation.

4. Recission. Throughout the fall, plaintiff and his employees have met with defendants at various shopping malls and department stores to negotiate contracts for the delivery of goods. Each negotiating session is marked by grossly unequal bargaining power as defendants literally climb on top of plaintiff to dictate their unreasonable demands. (Defendant possesses substantial photographic evidence to support this allegation.)

5. To persuade plaintiff to accede to their demands, defendants employ numerous forms of coercion and intimidation, including but not limited to pitiful pleas, doleful looks, drooling, beard pulling, and high-pitched screaming. Defendants frequently vomit on plaintiff to “seal the deal.”

6. These sessions result in billions of unconscionable contracts requiring defendant to personally deliver trillions of packages on a single evening, to wit, December 24, to every zip code in the world using a costly and inefficient shipping method. As defendants repeatedly emphasize during the negotiations, time is of the essence in performance of each contract.

7. Labor law violations. The only consideration plaintiff receives for his extraordinary services are stale cookies and spoiled 2% low-fat milk. Although he is hundreds of years past retirement age, plaintiff has no 401k plan or other retirement security.

8. Whereas defendants used to be satisfied with little tin horns and little toy drums that go rooty-toot-toot and rummy-tum-tum, they now demand expensive electronic equipment and name-brand athletic apparel. As a result, plaintiff has been forced to lay off his largely unskilled workforce of elves and spend long overtime hours assembling PlayStations® and stitching Swoosh® marks.

9. Reckless endangerment. Contrary to popular belief, it is not fun to ride in an open sleigh, especially at high altitude. It is a terrifying experience. Yet rather than support reforms to improve plaintiff’s working conditions, defendants show callous indifference by seeking to actually increase the hazards with repeated calls to “let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.”

10. Fraud. Each year, defendants induce plaintiff to deliver the subject goods by affirmatively misrepresenting their behavioral status, providing false assurances that they have been good when, in fact, they have been rotten. Upon information and belief, despite receiving ample notice that plaintiff is coming to town, defendants continue to pout, cry and shout.

WHEREFORE, plaintiff prays for damages, equitable relief, and that everyone have a merry little Christmas and happy holiday, despite the fact that he is a little ticked off right now.

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Andrew Jay McClurg is a law professor whose teaching and research interests include tort law, products liability, legal education, privacy law and firearms policy. He holds the Herbert Herff Chair of Excellence in Law at the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law.
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