No peace in sight as battle over Idaho Christmas display rages on

No peace in sight as battle over Idaho Christmas display rages on

The fight between a North Idaho homeowner and his homeowners’ association continues, despite a court ruling saying his large Christmas lights display did not violate the rules of the HOA.

Jeremy Morris filed a motion in federal court last week, asking for “de-annexation from the West Hayden Estates Homeowners Association.”

Morris bought into the HOA in 2015. At the time, Morris says he informed the association of his desire to put on a large Christmas display, which drew hundreds of people from across the Coeur d’Alene area. The HOA said the display, which also featured carolers, 200,000 lights and a large camel, would be “offensive to the senses” and would violate the rights of other homeowners because of the traffic, light and noise.

The HOA says the display “might be unsafe or hazardous”, is “excessively bright” and that the livestock violates the HOA rules on animals.

The case ended up in U.S. District Court. In late October, a jury sided with Morris, agreeing that the HOA violated his right to religious freedom. The jury also agreed that the HOA “threatened, intimidated, or interfered with Mr. and Mrs. Morris’s purchase or enjoyment of their home.”

Right after the jury’s decision, Morris’s attorney told KXLY4 the family would be leaving the neighborhood.

The request for injunction says the jury awarded $60,000 in compensatory damages, “specifically for closing/moving costs and buyers will not buy this property as part of this HOA.” The request says it would be difficult to sell their property because potential buyers would be aware of the issues with the HOA.

“The Morrises are of the sincere belief that their lives are threatened and desire to move as soon as is feasible.” They want their home de-annexed forever from the HOA.

In its response to the motion, the HOA is denying much of Morris’s claims. The HOA is asking the judge to set aside the decision to award Morris $60,000 in damages and for the court to reconsider the decision altogether.