Cases in Real Estate
is a weekly update on real estate law, with legal principles illustrated and
explained by lawsuits from around the country. The topics are wide-ranging for
appeal to a broad spectrum of readers including lawyers, homeowners, investors
and the general public. Andrea Lee Negroni, a Washington DC
attorney and legal writer with 25 years of experience in financial services and
mortgage law, contributes the case summaries.
Real Cases in Real Estate will learn and be entertained by lawsuits
involving nuisance, trespass, zoning violations, deed restrictions, title
insurance, public utilities, mechanics liens, construction defects, adverse
possession, foreclosure and eviction, divorce and marital property rights,
tenants' rights, and more. Real Cases in Real Estate uncovers the
unpredictable, amusing, and sometimes outrageous disputes between next-door
neighbors, contractors and homeowners, condo boards and residents, real estate
brokers and homebuyers, and zoning administrators and developers.
cited case summary highlights the essential law of the case and explains the
principal legal theories and concepts relevant to the outcome. Plain language
treatment makes Real Cases in Real Estate accessible to lawyers and
follow real estate law professionally or as a hobby, you'll find something new
and useful every week in Real Cases in Real Estate.
for the Week of December 3rd, 2012
Massive display of
Christmas lights in a quiet residential neighborhood is a nuisance, not
defensible as the exercise of religious freedom.
This holiday season, as
every holiday season, some folks will be enchanted by lights, carols, and
nativities, while others will be annoyed. A 1994 decision of the Arkansas
Supreme Court enlightens us with a discussion of the balance between the quiet
appropriate to a residential neighborhood and the extravagance of massive light
The Osbornes were ordered by the Arkansas Supreme Court to
reduce the size and extravagance of the holiday display at their home, which
was attracting large crowds to their residential neighborhood and disturbing
the quiet of some of their neighbors. The Osbornes claimed the Religious
Freedom Restoration Act, a federal law, prevented the Court from enjoining
their Christmas lights. They believed they were exercising their religious
rights by putting up the bright lights, but the Court considered their display
a public nuisance.
The outcome of the case is simple and to the point: "Massive
commercial lighting displays generated by commercial transformers are not
appropriate in quiet residential neighborhoods."
Osborne v. Power,
319 Ark. 52 (1994) [enhanced version available to lexis.com subscribers].
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