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Fontainebleau Hotel Corp. v. Forty-Five Twenty-Five, Inc.

Todd Berman

InstructorTodd Berman

CaseCast "What you need to know"

CaseCast –  "What you need to know"

Fontainebleau Hotel Corp. v. Forty-Five Twenty-Five, Inc.

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Brief Fact Summary. The construction of a new addition to a hotel will block sunlight from another hotel’s pool.

Synopsis of Rule of Law. A landowner does not have a legal right to the free flow of light and air across the adjoining land of his neighbor.

Points of Law - Legal Principles in this Case for Law Students.

Under this maxim, it was stated that it is well settled that a property owner may put his own property to any reasonable and lawful use, so long as he does not thereby deprive the adjoining landowner of any right of enjoyment of his property which is recognized and protected by law, and so long as his use is not such a one as the law will pronounce a nuisance.

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Facts. The Fontainebleau Hotel began constructing a fourteen-story addition to the hotel. The Eden Roc Hotel is next to the Fontainebleau. When the new addition is complete, there will be a shadow of the addition over the cabana, swimming pool, and the sunbathing area of the Eden Roc during the winter. The Eden Roc is attempting to enjoin the construction because they claim the addition would interfere with the light and air on the beach in front of the Eden Roc and cast a shadow that will render the beach unusable.

Issue. Does a landowner have a right to unobstructed light and air from an adjoining land?

Held. No. Judgment reversed.
One must not use his property in a way that will injure the lawful rights of another. A landowner has no legal right to the free flow of light and air across the adjoining land of his neighbor.
Where a structure serves a useful and beneficial purpose, it does not give rise to a cause of action either for damages or an injunction, even though it causes injury to another by cutting off the light and air and interfering with the view that would otherwise be available.

Discussion. The right to have one’s view remain unobstructed cannot be created by implication; otherwise, property development would be hindered.

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