At the end of the year, millions of people around the world prepare for the arrival of Santa Claus. But what if Santa doesn’t bring what you ask for? Or, what if his reindeer cause damage to your roof? Can you sue Santa? This light-hearted post relates to whether you can sue Santa, and what are some of the considerations associated with that.[1] However, it does not attempt to deal with the more important question of whether you should sue Santa.[2]



When trying to serve an elusive person who can travel fast enough to make it all the way around the world and to each home on one night every year, it is important to first think through the procedural and logistical concerns of suing Santa.


When determining whether you can sue Santa, it is important to first consider the issue of jurisdiction – meaning which court has authority over Santa, and where can you bring the lawsuit. In order to sue someone in a particular court, there must be something that ties the actions to the geographical boundaries of that court.

For example, if there is a court at the North Pole, you could potentially sue Santa there. But it would be subject to whatever laws they have there, and it may not have the same procedures or rights as in a court in Nebraska or Iowa. Since Santa travels to your home, and the potential “wrong-doing” takes place at your home, then the court which has geographical jurisdiction over where your home is located is likely an appropriate court to bring the lawsuit.

Service of Process:

One major hurdle to overcome in a lawsuit against the “man-in-red” has to do with getting him served with an official copy of the lawsuit. If he resided in the United States, you could potentially send the sheriff by to deliver the lawsuit. Or, if your suit is brought in Nebraska state court, you could maybe even send it via certified mail. However, since the North Pole appears to be its own sovereign nation, it becomes increasingly harder and could require using international law (like the “Geneva Convention”) to get him served.

Another possibility is to simply wait to bring suit until the following Christmas. Then, you can have a Sheriff or process server wait for him to arrive at your home (or someone else’s home) on Christmas Eve. When he pops down the chimney, the Sheriff / process server can then hand him a copy of the lawsuit and he has been served.




After considering the procedural requirements of suing Santa, you then need to consider what legal arguments you can make for suing Santa. In other words, what did he do to injury you or in what way(s) did he do something improper? The below are some possibilities to consider but are not designed to be comprehensive.

Breach of Contract:

One possibility is for “breach of contract,” if you asked Santa for one thing and he did not provide it to you. However, this one may be less likely to succeed.

In both Nebraska and Iowa, a verbal contract is just as valid as a written contract. But, in order to sue for a breach, you must first establish that there is an actual contract. Asking Santa to please bring you a specific item is often not sufficient. You would likely need something from Santa actually agreeing to do so. You might be able to establish that he has “always” brought you want you asked for in the past, but that still might not enough to successfully establish a contract in the particular instance in question.


You can also consider the fact that he is entering your property while you are asleep. If he were to trespass on your property and were to cause damage, then he could be liable for that. Such examples could include: if he damages your chimney because he is a little larger this year than last, or if he knocks something off your mantel and it breaks, or if the reindeers hooves damage your roof, or if he steps on and injures your sleeping (and apparently ineffective) “guard dog.” Trespass could even be as simple as the fact that he ate your cookies and drank your milk.

However, your trespass claim will likely fail (as would a theft claim of your cookies and milk) for the simple fact that you gave him permission to enter your property. If you want Santa to enter your property (to bring gifts, fill stockings, etc.) and you leave out your stockings and a plate of milk and cookies expressly for him, then you would likely fail on a trespass claim.


Perhaps the strongest argument you would have is Negligence. If Santa or his reindeer were to damage your roof or other property, you could potentially bring a claim of negligence. You would have to show that he did not use reasonable care, and it resulted in the damages you claim.




Whether it is sensible to bring a lawsuit against Santa is a personal question (potentially based on whether you still have little kids at home). But whether you are legally able to bring the lawsuit depends on what Santa did to cause you harm. If you are considering a lawsuit against Santa, or anyone else, contact the experienced trial attorneys at Goosmann Law Firm, PLC, in our Omaha, Sioux City, and Sioux Falls offices


[1] If you are reading this, Santa, please do not put me on the “Naughty List” (again). This is just an attempt to have a little fun with some legal principles. This is not intended as legal advice for anyone, and circumstances vary from case to case.

[2] NOTE: you sue Santa Claus at your own risk of being permanently placed on the “Naughty List.” Make sure to consult and attorney and clearly think through your options before undertaking such a course of action.


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