Brief Fact Summary.
Terrible smells from piles of sewage bothered nearby landowners.
Synopsis of Rule of Law.
Public nuisances entitle the affected parties to an injunction.
Defendant cannot, after suit has been filed and he is thus clearly informed of both the nature of plaintiffs' claim and their intention to insist upon it, deprive them of their right to complete relief by increasing his investment, and thus his potential hardship, before the final decision.View Full Point of Law
Plaintiffs are land owners in a rural county. They had lived in their houses for many years when the defendant, a neighboring waste treatment facility, started using a new technique for waste disposal, that involved creating several 9′ x 20′ x 100′ piles of sewage, left to dry in the open air for weeks at a time. This created a horrific smell that cascaded over the plaintiff’s property.
Does the waste create a nuisance for which the plaintiffs may obtain an injunction?
Yes, the plaintiffs should be granted an injunction.
The court found for the plaintiffs, and granted the injunction. In coming to this conclusion, the court reasoned that while the benefits of this new technique of waste disposal through composting piles may be beneficial to society, the commitment of such a process should not be thrust upon “involuntary contributors who happen to lie in the path of progress.” It is unfair that the plaintiffs should bear the burden of the public nuisance despite the benefits, and as such, an injunction is appropriate.