Simulation: Environmental Nuisance Lawsuit
In this exercise, you will be observing a court hearing of a private nuisance suit. The background information below is provided to familiarize you with some of the major legal issues presented. After you read the information below and observe the simulation, you should complete the assignment. You will answer the question posed and post your answer to the Dropbox under Week 7: Simulation.
Long before there was environmental legislation, there were courts grappling with the problems of pollution. Before there was an Environmental Protection Agency, those who allowed something noxious to escape their control and invade the property of others could be held accountable for their actions through private litigation. The doctrines of nuisance and trespass revolve around the interference with a property owner’s (or the public’s) right and ability to enjoy his or her (or public) land.
As Supreme Court Justice George Sutherland said in a case in 1926, "Nuisance may be merely a right thing in a wrong place like a pig in the parlor instead of the barnyard." Nuisance actions may be private or public. A private nuisance is a substantial and unreasonable interference with the use and enjoyment of an interest in property. A public nuisance is an act that causes inconvenience or damage to public health or order or that obstructs public rights. If a harmful substance is allowed, intentionally or carelessly, to invade the property of another, whether by land, air, or water, there may be a trespass. If so, the defendant is held responsible for damages.
Even though there is a vast body of federal law in effect today, the common law actions can still be brought. A court or local pollution control board will generally consider the following facts in a nuisance case: (1) character and degree of injury; (2) social or economic value of the source; (3) suitability or unsuitability of the source (including the question of priority of location); (4) technical practicability and economic reasonableness of control; and, (5) subsequent compliance, if any.
Various enforcement mechanisms exist. Civil and criminal penalties for both the firm and its managers are possible, although usually the initial step is a warning and the development of a compliance schedule. In severe cases, entire operations may be shut down.
This is a lawsuit brought by a group of landowners who live near a dairy farm. The issue is whether the aromatic nature of the farm's creation and processing of manure is a public nuisance. Please review the simulation. Then, state if you agree or disagree with the judge's ruling and why.
Using knowledge gained from the interactive, write a 250-500 word paper with your thoughts.
by a group