Judge Throws Out Tulsa Woman's Lawsuit Over Edible Garden

Wednesday, March 20th 2013, 9:59 pm
By: News On 6

We told you last year about a Tulsa woman who sued the City of Tulsa after crews mowed down everything in her front and back yards.

The city ordinance says plants can be taller than 12 inches if they are edible. Denise Morrison said everything she planted was edible.

Morrison had received a citation and was given a court date, but before she had a chance to tell her side of the story, city crews showed up with mowers and trimmers.

7/13/2012 Related Story: Support Blooms For Tulsa Woman Who Said The City Cut Down Her Edible Garden

She then filed a federal lawsuit against the city.

Now, a federal judge has thrown out her lawsuit without hearing the case.

Morrison's yard might've looked a little unruly, but she knew every plant in every inch of it. She said everything in the yard could be eaten raw or used to cook with or used as natural medicine, and every bit of it was organic.

She said she loves growing things and teaching others about growing.

"I think it's a lost art and it needs to be passed on to the next generation and the generations of the future, as it has been in generations of the past," Morrison said.

She thinks it was unfair the judge threw out her lawsuit.

Read The Judge's Ruling Here

Her attorney, Jeff Nix, said the judge based the decision on the city's horticulturist, who claimed Morrison's plants weren't edible. He plans to appeal, but said he's also encouraged Denise to replant her garden, bigger and better than ever.

"They picked on her because she stood up to them, but they have not seen anything yet," Nix said.

Morrison said code enforcement doesn't clean up all the abandoned houses that are boarded over, causing an eyesore, because there's no money in it. She said she believes they issue citations to home owners because the city wants the revenue. She is hoping for victory on appeal.

"If this ruling is allowed to stand, anybody in this city, growing anything anywhere in their yard, it can be ripped out when the city is in need of money," Morrison said.

The City of Tulsa said they thought the judge hit his decision out of the park.

It said, in part, that the city did not act unreasonably in their abatement of Morrison's property, that the city went to great lengths to explain to Morrison what conditions needed to be remediated and repeatedly attempted to reach a resolution before taking action.