Settlement Reached in Louisiana Lawsuit Over Light Display

March 4, 2013

A lawsuit over a Denham Springs, La., woman’s light display, which extended a middle finger to her neighbors, has been settled.

Final dismissal documents were filed in Baton Rouge-based federal court this week.

Sarah Childs said she put up the roof message in November because she believed a neighbor stole her dog. She said police threatened her with fines and arrest because of the lights. She and the American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana sued the city, its mayor and police.

ACLU of Louisiana Executive Director Marjorie Esman described the final settlement as allowing Childs to keep the lights up without harassment and requiring the city to make a payment to the ACLU to cover legal costs.

“The city agreed to leave her alone and paid $15,000 in attorney’s fees,” Esman said Friday.

Lawyer Brad Myers, representing Denham Springs, said the city’s insurance company covered the cost, and he said city officials continue to deny any harassment ever happened.

“The city agreed not to do what it had not done in the first place,” Myers said in an email.

Esman said Childs moved out of the house a few weeks ago. When she left, she kept the lights on the roof.

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