Land Use Conflicts
Land owner’s use or enjoyment of his own land is protected from conduct by other property owners when it is:
1. Unreasonable: gravity of harm outweighs the benefit of the actor’s conduct
2. Causes substantial harm: what is the extent of burden placed on plaintiff?
Remedies for Nuisance:
Ct’s ask two questions: 1- Is there entitlement (rt. to be free of harm v. rt. to engage in conduct)
2- How should entitlement be vindicated?
a. property rules (party can buy its way out of court judgment)
b. liability rules (party must pay damages to interfere with other’s rights
c. entitlements assigned by court or st. may not be bought or sold, can’t K to give up rights
To determine if reasonable, consider:
1. extent of harm
2. character of harm
3. social value of conduct
4. suitability to area or neighborhood
To determine if it causes substantial harm, consider:
Is defendant’s activity unfair by externalizing costs on others?
Ways to approach Remedies & Respective Entitlements:
1. Property rules (parties can buy way out of ct. judgment)
pl – injunctive relief (conduct unreasonable and causes subst. harm); df – no liability, can cont. nuisance conduct (harm insubst., conduct reasonable, and no unfair burnden on pl)
2. Liability rules (pay damages b/c intereference w/ others rights)
pl –get damages (conduct reas. but still unfair burden); df- make pl. purchase an injunction (conduct unreasonable, but fair to make pl. pay for it)
3. Inalienability Rules: entitlements given by st. or by courts cannot be bought or sold, agreements to give up rights are unenforceable
Page County Appliance v. Honeywell: Defendant and co-def. found guilty of nuisance when their computers interrupted TV reception of neighboring store (seller of tv’s v. travel agency computers)
Note: Nuisance differs from trespass b/c it is not a physical invasion (smoke or particles may be considered as both nuis. and trespass)
It is also different from negligence b/c we don’t care about the forseeability of the harm caused by conduct but rather care about the consequences of the conduct
Note: Usually, burden of proof is on pl. to prove nuisance by showing that conduct is unreas. and causes subst. harm
However, if situations are ultra-hazardous, df may be strictly liable w/o pl needing to prove above
Ct’s also usually unwilling to grant relief to parties that willingly move near a known nuisance and later complain about it
Also such a thing as a public nuisance (any member of public can bring suit if conduct interferes with publics right to enjoyment of public parties)
Right to securit
ding construction. However, this ct. says these concerns are now obsolete. Sunlight in this case was being used for energy (solar panels on pl. roof). Ct. says now the new standard should be to use modern nuisance laws to govern light and air disputes.
Majority view is absolute ownership: Fontainbleau v. Eden Rock Court: owner owns up to the sky and down to earth
No negative easement exists for light and air unless created by contract
Expetions: spite fences (many states granting injunctions ag. Fences or walls on the edge of one’s property w/ sole purpose of blocking neighbor’s air or light
Minority approach: The Modern Nuisance Law application to Light/Air
Policies encouraging development of land have given way to policies encouraging alternative energy sources and conservation of land and resources
Go back and fill in with Posner’s law and economic theory.
Also externalization of internal costs. Weigh total cost v. benefit. Consider social cost and social utility. If total benefit can outweigh, total costs after including internalizing the external costs, conduct should be allowed.