Brief Fact Summary. Fontainebleau Hotel Corp. (Defendant) maliciously began to build an addition to his hotel, which blocked the air and light to Plaintiff’s neighboring hotel.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. There is no common law easement for air-flow or light
Issue. Does Plaintiff have a legal right to the flow of light and air across the adjoining land of a neighbor?
Held. No. Judgment reversed.
* One must not use his property to injure the lawful rights of another.
* No decision has been cited, which provides for a legal right to the free flow of light and air across the adjoining land of a neighbor, in the absence of some contractual or statutory obligation. Under the common law, there was no such right in the absence of an easement.
* In the absence of an easement, no such rights exist. Because there is no legal right to the free flow of light and air from the adjoining land, it is universally held that when a structure serves a useful and beneficial purpose, it does not give rise to a cause of action, either for damages or for an injunction even though it causes injury to another, and that injury was created from malice and ill will.
Discussion. This type of situation is one best left to the legislature. There is no common law easement for light or air, but the legislature has imposed height restrictions. Height restrictions raise takings and just compensation issues.