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Amphitheater, Inc. v. Portland Meadows

    Brief Fact Summary.

    Amphitheater, Inc. (plaintiff) sued Portland Meadows (defendant) alleging causes of actions for trespass and nuisance.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law.

    To recover on a claim for nuisance the standard is would the alleged nuisance bother or annoy a person of ordinary sensibilities.

    Facts.

    Plaintiff and Defendant both built venues next to each other, the defendant built a horse racing track and the plaintiff a movie theater. The movie theater was designed to keep all light out from passing cars and the moon, achieved by building huge fences. The defendant’s race track was designed with lights so the track could hold races at night. The lights disturbed the movie goers and plaintiff brought suit for nuisance and trespass.

    Issue.

    Whether to recover on a claim for nuisance the standard is would the alleged nuisance bother or annoy a person of ordinary sensibilities?

    Held.

    Yes. To recover on a claim for nuisance the standard is would the alleged nuisance bother or annoy a person of ordinary sensibilities.

    Concurrence.

    None

    Discussion.

    To recover on a claim for private nuisance the alleged nuisance must be one that would annoy an ordinary person with ordinary sensibilities. Private Nuisance is one step below Trespass and examples of it are extremely loud noises or foul odors. The alleged nuisance must be substantial and unreasonable and because the standard is an objective one measure by an ordinary person, harmless activities cannot survive claims for nuisance. Here, the lights would not offend a person with ordinary sensibilities and while it may interfere with the movie theater, the interference is not substantial and unreasonable.


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