Real Cases in Real Estate By Andrea Lee Negroni, Esq. – December 3rd, 2012 Update

Real Cases in Real Estate By Andrea Lee Negroni, Esq. – December 3rd, 2012 Update

Real 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.

Followers of 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.

Each fully 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 laymen alike.

Whether you follow real estate law professionally or as a hobby, you'll find something new and useful every week in Real Cases in Real Estate.

Updates 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 displays.

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 subscribers].


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