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NUISANCE

The High Penn Oil Company asserts with complete correctness that private nuisances may be classified as nuisances per se or at law, and nuisances per accidens or in fact. A nuisance per se or at law is an act, occupation, or structure which is a nuisance at all times and under any circumstances, regardless of location or surroundings. [Cc]. Nuisances per accidens or in fact are those which become nuisances by reason of their location, or by reason of the manner in which they are constructed, maintained, or operated. [Cc] The High Penn Oil Company also asserts with complete correctness that an oil refinery is a lawful enterprise and for that reason cannot be a nuisance per se or at law. {Cc) The High Penn Oil Company falls into error, however, when it takes the position that an oil refinery cannot become a nuisance per accidens or in fact unless it is constructed or operated in a negligent manner.

Negligence and nuisance are distinct fields of tort liability. [Cc]. While the same act or omission may constitute negligence and also give rise to a private nuisance per accidens or in fact, and thus the two torts may coexist and be practically inseparable a private nuisance per accidens or in fact may be created or maintained without negligence. [Cc]. Most private nuisances per accidens or in fact are intentionally created or maintained, and are redressed by the courts without allegation or proof of negligence. [Cc]

The law of private nuisance rests on the concept embodied in the ancient legal maxim Sic utere tuo ut alienum non laedas, meaning, in essence, that every person should so use his own property as not to injure that of another. {Cc] As a consequence, a private nuisance exists in a legal sense when one makes an improper use of his own property and in that way injures the land or some incorporeal right of one’s neighbor.[Cc]

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