A civil liability for nuisance generally rises from the infringement upon another person’s free use and enjoyment of his or her property. This means that a person cannot and should not use his or her property in such a manner that it infringes upon the rights of another individual. Lawsuits that invoke the law of nuisance generally involve either an individual suing a neighbor or a public official suing a property owner for the general public’s benefit.
Nuisance lawsuits can be classified as either private or public nuisance actions, both of which interfere with a person’s enjoyment of land.
A private nuisance refers to a loss of the enjoyment or use of property—without any form of physical invasion or trespass action. It is when another person’s enjoyment and use of property is interfered with unreasonably and substantially through an activity or thing. A private nuisance is not a crime, and is basically a dispute between two persons.
A public nuisance, on the other hand, is when an individual interferes with a common right shared by the general public. This type of nuisance has more extensive effects, such as affecting the public’s health, safety, comfort, or welfare. A public nuisance is often considered both a crime and a civil wrong, and penalties such as imprisonment or fines may be involved for those responsible for creating the nuisance.
In certain situations, nuisances can be considered both private and public.
Examples of nuisances that can destroy the value of property are bright lights from a baseball field, sewage, smoke, stormwater, loud machinery, junkyards, and just about anything else that can be deemed annoying. It is arguably a nuisance if it is noisy, smelly, ugly, or wet.
When it comes to resolving nuisance disputes, the courts are influenced by numerous factors. These factors include the location in which the alleged nuisance is, and if any zoning restrictions are applicable to that particular area. For other nuisances, other factors taken into consideration include the general nature of the neighborhood, how long the interference lasts and whether it is ongoing, the time of day or night it occurs, and the impact that the nuisance has on the neighbors.
A common remedy for both private and public nuisances is damages. If this legal remedy is not adequate, then courts may also grant injunctive relief halting its use.
Consult with an Attorney
A dispute between neighbors can become drawn out and emotionally draining, and being on either side of a nuisance lawsuit can be an unpleasant experience. If you are dealing with a nuisance and wish to recover damages or obtain an injunction, call James B. Griffin at (205) 502-2199 today.