A. PRIVATE NUISANCE
150 Law Masters Series
MORGAN et ux.
HIGH PENN OIL CO. et al.
Supreme Court of North Carolina (1953)
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[The amended complaint] alleges in detail that the plaintiffs own and occupy * * * nine acres [of land]; that the nine acres adjoin the tract on which the [High Penn] oil refinery stands; that the Southern Oil Transportation company owns the tract which contains the oil refinery; that the oil refinery was constructed and is operated by the defendants acting jointly; that the oil refinery is so constructed and operated as to constitute a nuisance in that it substantially pollutes the atmosphere of the entire neighborhood and thus injuriously affects the plaintiffs in the use and enjoyment of their land; that the defendants persist in maintaining the nuisance after notice from the plaintiffs to abate it; and that the plaintiffs will suffer an irreparable loss of their property rights if the nuisance is not abated. The complaint prays for temporary damages and an abatement of the alleged nuisance by injunction. * * *
[The] joint answer denying all of the material allegations of the complaint other than the averment that the Southern oil Transportation Company holds the record title to the land on which the oil refinery is located. * * * [and] that the High Penn Oil Company was the sole builder of the oil refinery, and is its sole operator; that the oil refinery is a modern plant of the type in approved, known and general use for renovating used lubricating oil; that the oil refinery is suited to the locality in which it stands[.] * * *
The evidence of the plaintiffs tended to show that for some hours on two or three different days during each week of its operation by the High Penn Oil Company, the oil refinery emitted nauseating gases and odors in great quantities; that the nauseating gases and odors invaded the nine acres owned by the plaintiffs and the other lands located within ‘a mile and three-quarters or two miles’ of the oil refinery in such amounts and in such densities as to render persons of ordinary sensitiveness uncomfortable and sick; that the operation of the oil refinery thus substantially impaired the use and enjoyment of the nine acres by the plaintiffs and their renters; and that the defendants failed to put an end to the atmospheric pollution arising out of the operation of the oil refinery after notice and demand from the plaintiffs to abate it. * * *.