Neighbor Goes to Court Over Christmas Display

Crown Point Parkway man alleges damage after annual lighting celebration


The man behind the Christmas lights on Crown Point Parkway -- the cul de sac that's made national news for its annual holiday display -- is being sued by a neighbor in Small Claims Court.

Kevin Roberts is seeking $3,000 from Dan Hoag, alleging a fireworks display on Thanksgiving ruined his dinner and damaged his property.

The case is scheduled for a hearing Jan. 30 in Berea Municipal Court.

"I think it's a shame," said Hoag, who started the street-long decorating two decades ago with neighbor Dan Paliwoda. "We're just trying to do something nice for families and kids."

Roberts did not return a phone call seeking comment.

His complaint, filed Dec. 13, alleges debris from the fireworks damaged the roof of his house, his car and his lawn, and ruined his Thanksgiving dinner.

The suit also says that when his sister tried to leave his house on Thanksgiving 2011, she was unable to get through the crowd. 

For the last 20 years, families on Crown Point Parkway have launched the holiday season at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving with a lighting ceremony.

The lighting event typically includes fireworks. The display fizzled in 2011 because someone called the police, who shut it down before it started.

It's against the law for residents to set off fireworks.

This year, Hoag got permission from Mayor Tom Perciak to rekindle the display. He said the city also sent two police officers to help ensure the safety of the 800 to 1,000 people gathered to watch.

The holiday display includes hundreds of thousands of lights on houses, in yards and on archways that line the sidewalks. In 1994, 11 families were invited to appear on NBC's Today Show when the street was featured.

Santa visits on the weekends, and donations left by visitors -- typically several thousand dollars -- are given to a local charity or family in need.

This year, the money went to the family of an 11-year-old Parma boy battling brain cancer.

Hoag said the Robertses participated in the display until 1999, but said Roberts' late father, who also lived at the house, then began complaining about it, saying the music was too loud, the street was too crowded and the line for Santa was too long.

Hoag said he will fight the complaint in court.

"First of all, I don't believe the cardboard tubes from the fireworks damaged anything," he said. "And this is a tradition for a lot of people. I don't think there's anything wrong with what we're doing."

• Have you joined Strongsville Patch yet? You can get headlines delivered to your inbox every morning. Click here to join

Steve January 30, 2013 at 01:17 AM
na•ive adjective 1. Having or showing unaffected simplicity of nature or absence of artificiality; unsophisticated; ingenuous. 2. Having or showing a lack of experience, judgment, or information; credulous: She's so naive she believes everything she reads.
faith January 30, 2013 at 12:59 PM
There is so much more to this story than any of you think. In the interest of the impending case I will wait until AFTER court to inform the uninformed. But, trust me, I will.
Paul February 01, 2013 at 12:46 AM
Let’s put our emotions aside for a moment. It is against Ohio law for an individual who does not posses a license issued by the State Fire Marshal to set them off. Individuals who violate the fireworks law face first-degree misdemeanor criminal penalties.A first time offender can be sentenced to up to six months in jail and also fined up to $1,000.Subsequent conviction is a fifth-degree felony potentially punishable by a prison term of up to one year. I do not believe Mr. Hoag and possibly others would enjoy that. Even the most experienced licensed pyrotechnic display companies have experienced various degrees of failures during their events. Here are some facts.Number of injuries caused by fireworks in 2010 (8,600) Number of fires caused by fireworks in 2009 (18,000) Amount of direct property loss caused by fireworks in 2009 ($38 million). Please go to http://www.cpsc.gov//PageFiles/108534/2011fwreport.pdf http://www.usfa.fema.gov/citizens/focus/fireworks.shtm https://www.ohiobar.org/forpublic/resources/lawyoucanuse/pages/lawyoucanuse-521.aspx http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/3743 Hopefully this has educated those city officials who may have been involved with providing Mr. Hoag verbal permission to conduct his firework display.Keep in mind we all have a right to live in a neighborhood free from illegal activity. It is the responsibility of our city officials to ensure that this is the case to the maximum extent possible.Ignorance of a law is not an excuse for violating it.
lyn February 02, 2013 at 12:38 AM
This was a small claims suit, not a criminal one. AND More is involved here than setting off the fireworks. We all have learned from their day in court that Kevin Roberts has had an agenda for years - according to his own sister, her brother vowed to live in the Crown Point Parkway house, which originally belonged to their father, for the rest of his life "just so he can make the neighbors' lives as miserable as possible." And, it was also revealed that "Roberts' late father apparently began to dislike the lights and the crowds, to the point he was charged with cutting Hoag's electrical wires in about 2002." So, now the son has carried on the vendetta and can't let go of what ever brought this all about. So, once the fireworks part is settled, do people really think this Kevin dude will be happy? I really don't think so. He just was able to use the fireworks and the legality of same to get back at him. But, this has also brought the mayor, safety director and police department scope of authority into question. As much as I'd like to say that the mayor should be able to authorize this, IMO, the Ohio Code is rather clear that the fire chief MUST have approved this. And, chances are, if he were asked to, or if the mayor had referred it to him, this activity would not have taken place because they did violate the code - again, IMO. Regardless of whether people think it is safe or not, there are restrictions.
tom m March 05, 2013 at 03:35 PM
FIREWORKS CASE SETTLED Well it's about time! From Fox 8 News BEREA, Ohio– A judge has dismissed a man’s claim that his neighbor’s fireworks display ruined his Thanksgiving dinner. However, the judge did rule that the neighbor must pay the man cleanup costs from the fireworks debris that fell on his property. Kevin Roberts of Strongsville sued his next door neighbor, Daniel Hoag, after he claims a fireworks display this past Thanksgiving ruined his holiday dinner. The lawsuit claimed fireworks debris fell on Roberts’ home and yard, and a family member suffered emotional distress from the crowds of people blocking the driveway to watch the display. Monday, a judge ordered Hoag to pay just more than $300, plus court costs and interest, to the plaintiff for the cleanup costs. But the judge threw out the claims for emotional distress and spoiling Thanksgiving dinner. Hoag said he has received a tremendous outpouring of support and donations and the money left over after the settlement will be given to charity. I believe the court should pay the interest for taking so long to make it's decision.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »