Can We Sue Santa

By Phillip Addis  

Last year at approximately this same time, I pondered the viability of suing Santa. 

My children became very concerned that because of my article, I would end up on the naughty list. They were also worried my actions might reflect poorly on them and my wife. They informed me they visited with Santa and discussed the matter. Santa assured them they and my wife were safe, but I was still in trouble. (I do not believe this was solely related to the article.) They urged Santa to give me another chance.

I suspect they will not be thrilled with how I am handling that chance. I decided to consider other possible claims against Santa Claus.

How about discrimination in the workplace? 

In “The Night Before Christmas,” Mr. Moore identifies that Santa has eight reindeer: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen. It has been determined over the years that all these reindeer are male.

Why are there no female reindeer? Has Santa created a glass ceiling for female reindeer? Did he attempt to accommodate the needs of nonflying reindeer so they could also join his team? Mr. Moore never tells us the rest of the story.

Since reindeer are not defined as a protected class by the federal government, it appears Santa is safe from a discrimination claim at this time.

As we know from “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” Kriss Kringle instructs Comet that Rudolph should not be allowed to train with the other reindeer due to a glowing red nose. Is this discrimination? Did Santa create a hostile work environment? 

As stated above, reindeer are not a protected class. I have yet to locate any regulations relating to glowing red noses, but the federal government may need to get involved. 

Should the “Naughty and Nice” list be made public? 

We know Santa has a “naughty” and “nice” list. Santa and his elves have access to all the activities of everyone throughout time. This includes the activities of President Donald Trump and his family, Hillary Clinton and her family, plus all other past and present elected officials and candidates. 

Would a congressional subpoena compel Santa to disclose all he knows? Should the NSA and TSA be looking into what gifts people ask for to determine if they are a security risk? Is whether a candidate was on the “naughty” or “nice” list relevant during an election? Is this information as important as tax returns? Does the public have the right to know?

Since Santa is not a citizen of the United States, the power of Congress or our courts to compel disclosure of his records is limited. You must also consider the herculean effort it would take to personally serve Santa with a subpoena on Christmas Eve. Furthermore, we need to remember that Santa still controls the “Naughty and Nice” list. Who wants to take the chance of getting on Santa’s bad side?

My opinion from last year has not changed. To steal a line from Francis Church in the Sept. 21, 1897, edition of The New York Sun, “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.” But in this attorney’s opinion, he is still immune from lawsuits.

Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. See you next year. 

Phillip Addis is an attorney and a lifelong resident of the city of La Crosse. Yes, he still believes in Santa Claus. He freely admits, despite the pleas of his children, he most likely has a permanent spot on Santa’s naughty list. 

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