Holidays & the Law

‘Tis that most wonderful time of the year when Christmas decorations go up both inside and out. Some folks think, the more – the merrier where festive lights are concerned, and many people go all out when they decorate the exterior of their homes.

 So, it is difficult to believe that anyone would have a problem with the merriment and happiness of Christmas lights, but a Florida town is being quite the Scrooge where Christmas lights are concerned, and one family is feeling the heat.

 The Hyatt family of Plantation, Florida calls their annual holiday display, “Hyatt Extreme Christmas.” They have put up the display for years and debut the extravaganza the day after Thanksgiving.

 Their show includes more than 200-thousand lights, a 30-foot tree, a Ferris wheel, an inflatable movie screen that shows Disney movies, blowing snow, a nativity scene and much more. They even have live animals including a horse adorned with reindeer antlers – and all of this on their one-acre property.

 As you might imagine, there are complaints from some neighbors who say that this whole thing, and the size of it, makes their neighborhood more dangerous. Some neighbors even move temporarily to avoid what has been called a nightmare.

 The city of Plantation says it has attempted to work with the Hyatts to make the area safer. They have even paid off-duty officers to patrol the area, but the merry revelers seemed to overpower the manpower.

 Now the city has filed a complaint stating the the “carnival-like” atmosphere is causing a public nuisance and posing a public safety threat. It has asked the court to order the Hyatts “to refrain from promoting, erecting, and operating a holiday display at their residence of a nature, extravagance or size that attracts large numbers of the public.”

 What do you think? Is there really such a thing as a Christmas display that is too big?  The judge didn’t think so, and she ruled in the Hyatt’s favor? This year they say they’re adding even more decorations to “take their display to the next level.”

 If you have legal questions, please consult our Online Legal Directory to find an attorney in your area.

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