July 4th-Related Case Centered on Shipping Fireworks Out of State
Nearly 30 years ago, the Ohio Supreme Court found that a Toledo-area fireworks company violated state law by not shipping fireworks directly out of state and instead delegating that task to the buyer.
In a 7-0 decision, the Supreme Court upheld a ruling by the Sixth District Court of Appeals that Sunset Fireworks Company’s fireworks sales constituted a “public nuisance.”
Sunset sold fireworks to buyers at its two stores in 1983 leading up to July 4th.
According to the Supreme Court’s opinion: “If the buyer had an Ohio residence, such individual was required to sign an affidavit that the goods would be shipped directly out of state and would not be used in the state of Ohio. A similar affidavit was not required for purchasers who were out-of-state residents; all retail purchasers were required to certify that the goods would be used in accordance with the laws of the state of destination. The fireworks were given to the purchaser for transportation and were not shipped by appellant.”
Deputies with the Lucas County Sheriff’s Office also bought fireworks at Sunset’s stores and stopped vehicles transporting fireworks bought at Sunset. The trial in common pleas court revealed that Sunset did not have a wholesaler’s license to sell fireworks.
The Supreme Court’s opinion quoted from the law in effect at the time.
“‘(B) Sections 3743.27 to 3743.43 of the Revised Code do not prohibit any wholesaler, dealer, or jobber from selling at wholesale such fireworks as a permitted to be used by such sections or the sale of fireworks to be shipped directly out of state,’” the Supreme Court stated.
The Supreme Court found that R.C. 3743.33 permitted the retail sales of fireworks shipped directly out of state by a seller that was licensed by the Ohio Department of Industrial Relations as a wholesaler or manufacturer. The court also found that a seller could sell fireworks to a wholesaler, which would ship the fireworks out of state, that exhibited a wholesale permit or was known to have a wholesale permit issued pursuant to R.C. 3743.321.
The Supreme Court’s opinion noted that it’s the “licensed dealer who has the obligation to ship such fireworks directly out of state.”