Nuisance

Trees planted along border held to constitute a spite fence

The neighbors in the case of Game Place, Tranfield v. Arcuni-English, 215 A.3d 222 (Me. 2019), never got along with each other and quarreled when one owner cut dead limbs on his property to open up a view over the neighbor’s land. The neighbor threatened to erect a high fence to block the view, but instead hired a landscaper who installed 24 trees along the boundary...

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Fracking may be a trespass if it involves physical intrusion on land owned by others

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court reaffirmed the rule of capture that allows an owner to withdraw oil and gas from beneath its property even if doing so draws oil and gas from beneath the land of others. The question was whether fracking is any different. In Briggs v. Southwestern Energy Production Co., 224 A.3d 334 (Pa. 2020), the court held that these rules do...

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Civil law or natural flow rule interpreted to allow artificial drainage of subsurface water

While the "free use" rule generally allows an owner to expel surface and subsurface water without liability, the civil law or "natural flow' rule imposes liability on an owner who artificially captures and expels such waters, especially if done in a direction different from the watercourse or the natural direction of water flow. However, interpreting a state statute codifying the civil law rule, (S.D. Codified Laws §...

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Shooting range may be a nuisance unless state statutes say otherwise

Construing a state statute, the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia held that a shooting range cannot constitute a nuisance if it complies with local noise ordinances. However, that statute could not be applied retroactively without violating vested property rights so the plaintiffs in the case were entitled to damages but...

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Nuisance victim awarded cost of restoration damages without any need to prove diminution in value of the property

When an oil tanker overturned in a traffic circle, spilled 9,000 gallons of oil and kerosene into a culvert, property owners who were affected were allowed to sue for the cost of restoring their properties because of the physical harm to them without any need to show that the contamination diminished the market value of their land....

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Condo owner may be liable for wrongful death of neighbor when he rented his unit to his brother knowing he was a dangerous sex offender

A court has held that a landlord may be liable for wrongful death of a neighboring condo owner if he rents his unit to his brother, knowing he is a sex offender who often stops using needed medication and is capable of violent outburst when he did not use his medication, fails to warn the neighbors of his presence, and the landlord's brother kills a neighboring owner.  Steele v. Kings Way Condominium Trust, 2018 Mass. Super. LEXIS 103 (Mass. Super. Ct. 2018).