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."

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James Murphy January 25, 2013 at 12:16 AM
just as safe as all the fireworks "deployed" on the 4th of july by drunk homeowners all over the city
food dude January 25, 2013 at 01:07 AM
Gee what is the diffefence between theses folks and the drunks ? Maybe there were alot more fireworks ?
James Murphy January 25, 2013 at 02:16 AM
lets not be childish july is a hot dry month dry brush everywhere people shoot fireworks off all the time (most are drunk) the city has yet to burn down november is a cold wet month snow and soggy leaves everywhere these people shoot off a few fireworks (I assume sober) with the citys permission since money raised goes to a good cause except $3000.00 damage to his lawn
Marian January 25, 2013 at 08:37 AM
Post the link, pls and ty.
lyn January 25, 2013 at 01:40 PM
Is this it? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SoJQa6KCpRY Looks like this is taken from the neighbors, Kevin's, upstairs window. So, there seems more interest in videoing the people setting off the fireworks for a soon to be filed lawsuit. So, since he can be so ready to get this on you tube, lets see the actual roof, car and lawn damage. All sounds a little suspect to me. If a normal person was to tape fireworks, they would point up, not at the people setting them off. Now I really doubt his claim. Probably wants other previous unrelated damage fixed. However, I still don't think this activity should go in a neighborhood. But that won't make Kevin happy - not as long as his neighbors celebrate Christmas.
lyn January 25, 2013 at 02:00 PM
Why was there no damages sought for his driveway? Those fireworks, going straight up, as he taped, would hit the pavement next to the lawn and car IF damage was done. All evidence says - NO WAY KEVIN! Withdraw your filing before you look any more foolish! Especially when you add that Dinner is ruined, when you know this Christmas celebration happens every year, AND that sis can't leave - more your fault for not helping to stop traffic. By taping your neighbors, just proves you had previous intent to file a negligent lawsuit!
Kim L January 25, 2013 at 04:06 PM
well its pretty clear by the video that this was posted by Mr Roberts himself, But it is a great video to prove how petty this man was. he claims that his thanksgiving dinner was ruined by the fireworks display, but he spent his dinner in his back window taping the event. Also this video will kill his own claim in court because it shows 2 thing about the fireworks, the first being the wind direction, which was blowing away from his property as would the car,roof,lawn damaging hot ashes and second how small and minor these fireworks were, these were smaller than what we let our kids shoot of on the beach at hilton head Thank you Mr Roberts For Posting your evidence on youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SoJQa6KCpRY
Kim L January 25, 2013 at 04:13 PM
Lyn your thankgiving dinner would be ruined too if the dinner host spent it up in his bedroom alone with a video camera taping his neighbors
Beverly January 25, 2013 at 05:19 PM
very funny Kim-don't even want to gander a guess at what else is on that video-I'm sure his personal problems go much deeper than the Christmas display . I hope he is able to resolve them in a manner that is positive for both he & his neighbors-I know a great realtor if he's interested.
Jean Williams January 25, 2013 at 05:31 PM
friv·o·lous [friv-uh-luhs] adjective characterized by lack of seriousness or sense: frivolous conduct. self-indulgently carefree; unconcerned about or lacking any serious purpose. (of a person) given to trifling or undue levity: a frivolous, empty-headed person. of little or no weight, worth, or importance; not worthy of serious notice: a frivolous suggestion.
Beverly January 25, 2013 at 08:14 PM
This will definitely only hurt his claim.It's as if he intentionally set up the whole matter so he could sue & cause trouble for his neighbors. Problem is this video works against his claim given the small,controlled display & obvious visual that the fireworks were blowing AWAY from his house.I did not see one indicator on that video that the fireworks entered onto his property or home. Save your time & court fees Kevin-the world is full of frivolous lawsuits & the magistrate will sniff this one out straight away.
Terry B. January 25, 2013 at 11:45 PM
Shooting off fireworks is still illegal without a permit from the fire department, in addition to being done by a licensed exhibitor. The fire marshal has the final say, not the mayor. Please feel free to call the Strongville Fire Department's fire prevention bureau for clarification, the number is on the city website. Despite what some posters on this site may believe, this video will probably help Mr. Roberts' case.
Jean Williams January 26, 2013 at 12:07 AM
terry b or food dude or steve, chooch or whoever you want to post as next here is the state law on firework and who can issue them A permit may be issued by a mayor, village president or town chair or any person designated by the mayor, village president or town chairperson. now all these other people you are trying to claim are positions hired by the mayors office and report to him (and can be replaced by him) so keep trying your case who I assume is Mr Roberts himself behind all these first time posters
Jean Williams January 26, 2013 at 12:32 AM
terry b or food dude or steve, chooch or whoever you want to post as next here is the state law on firework and who can issue them A permit may be issued by a mayor, village president or town chair or any person designated by the mayor, village president or town chairperson. now all these other people you are trying to claim are positions hired by the mayors office and report to him (and can be replaced by him) so keep trying your case who I assume is Mr Roberts himself behind all these first time posters
Kim L January 26, 2013 at 01:37 AM
yes jean it's amazing how many first time posters we have in this city, that use the same sentence structures so worried about a few minutes worth of November fireworks
lyn January 26, 2013 at 01:57 PM
Here's some info from the Ohio State Bar Association regarding Ohio law and fireworks: https://www.ohiobar.org/forpublic/resources/lawyoucanuse/pages/lawyoucanuse-521.aspx And more detailed in the actual Ohio Revised Code: http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/3743 scroll down to 3743.54
lyn January 26, 2013 at 02:21 PM
IMO, and it is just that, it appears that it has to be performed by a LICENSED exhibitor and there MUST be approval from the fire chief AND a police chief (or designee). But it doesn't look like the mayor has any say, unless the police chief were to say so, not the other way. Probably because these officials have the expertise in these matters more than a mayor would. So, how the mayor was able to do this - I don't know, but it left Dan in a position of relying on the power of his office.
lyn January 26, 2013 at 02:35 PM
Unfortunately, if the mayor had said he needed the fire chiefs approval, this whole thing would have been avoided - because I assume the fire chief knows the regs and then this probably would not have proceeded, at least legally in Dan's mind. But, I have to wonder about what Faith said above "We have approval from the Strongsville City Police Department and the Strongsville City Safety Director." Shouldn't the current police chief (if that is who she meant by the police dept.) and the Safety Director have known these regs and advised Dan? And isn't this safety director Mr. Goss who used to be our police chief and was just put in this newly created position after he retired? I think it was more of the mayor THINKING he had the authority to do this, but others should have known so Dan would not be the one to be holding the bag.
tom m January 26, 2013 at 05:26 PM
holding what bag ?????? he is not being charged with anything ????? he is being sued by a neighbor, WHO if I am not mistaken has to show proof of damage caused from those little sparklers he was shooting off, and MR Grinch's own video which he was shooting from inside his house instead of having his dinner which was "ruined" he needs to prove his lawn was damaged and car and roof, which by the wind direction and distance from the house seems unlikely everyone is so focused on permission or not permission of fireworks all this is is a childish lawsuit brought on by a unhappy person ...............who instead of joining his neighbors in a celebration "like he had done many times before" ....chose instead to hide in a dark room in his house and videotape what the rest of his neighbors were doing ........... this again is all about proof and how do you prove that 10 minutes worth of fireworks "ruined your dinner"
lyn January 26, 2013 at 06:04 PM
If it goes against him, which I sincerely hope it doesn't and doubt it will, hopefully the damages will be mitigated by the mayor and police giving permission. And, as a result, hopefully no further litigation will happen. This Kevin seems to want to cause trouble, and I don't think will be happy until his neighbor(s) pay either monetarily or by trying to embarrass them. But he is the one looking the fool here. Most people would think by asking a city official for permission and getting it, that it would be okay - but that doesn't always excuse , as they say, "ignorance of the law". Believe me, the only bad guy here, IMO, is Kevin - he was setting it up from the time he put this on video - couldn't wait to build a case that hadn't yet happened. And, as for the mayor, again, I think he believed he had the authority to give his OK. People do make mistakes, and so what, if no harm was done - and I don't think harm WAS done.
lyn January 26, 2013 at 06:10 PM
"holding the bag" was in reference to the police dept. and safety director who should know the law and therefore, should have followed proper procedures in the beginning and advised so Dan would not have been in this position to begin with. sorry, I wasn't clear
Otis January 26, 2013 at 07:41 PM
With all of these evidence pictures, nobody posted Mr Roberts ruined Thanksgiving dinner. So here it is. https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTxo4oblTQqX3_1pgGG0RSHnvDYwbWvTovjQL_ap7_b1CDSNYpX
Otis January 26, 2013 at 07:44 PM
Here's another one. https://encrypted-tbn3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTjmIfPKxtba-T65EJSdADT9RZhJxgo2Efq6kdZoUdBKUSxsW5J
Otis January 26, 2013 at 07:54 PM
Nevermind I forgot about the picture of the burnt turkey. My bad.
Otis January 29, 2013 at 10:31 PM
Well tomorrow is the big hearing and I would like to wish Dan and Faith Good Luck!
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.


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