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Private Nuisance

New York private nuisance is a tort that punishes interference with the use and enjoyment of land. The policy of nuisance is to prohibit annoying and disruptive conduct rather than to stop any one particular kind of act. Private nuisance may be found where a defendant creates a 1) significant interference with the private enjoyment and use of the plaintiff’s land; 2) that the conduct is unreasonable or intentional; 3) reckless or reckless or; 4) actionable under principles of strict liability governing abnormally dangerous activities or conditions like blasting or transporting radioactive waste.

If you believe you have a claim for private nuisance or you are being sued for private nuisance yourself, call our knowledgeable and aggressive New York tort litigation lawyers today for a free consultation.

Private nuisances apply to a single person or small groups of people and the cause of action must be prosecuted by those affected. Private nuisances may only affect private land.

Private nuisance and trespass are not the same. The definition of trespass is the wrongful entry onto the property of another. A person a tortiously trespasses when they unlawfully enter onto the land of another. Private nuisances are not accomplished solely due to entries onto the land others. Instead, all that must occur is interference with the right to use and enjoy the land. For example, noxious smells coming from a chemical plant, dust rising from a quarry, or constant blasting of loud music that one can hear through the walls may constitute private nuisance.

In analyzing private nuisances, courts consider how substantial the interference with the land is, how frequently the interference occurs, the duration of the interference, and whether the interference is continuous. Consider the following example: a neighbor who owns Whiteacre farm and many animals commits a trespass when he allows his Lama to graze on Blackacre. On the other hand, when the neighbor never cleans the manure from their herd of thirty Lamas and Lamas can be heard loudly fighting day and night, the noise and smell from Whiteacre may constitute a private nuisance.

A private nuisance per se is a type of nuisance that is actionable as a matter of law. Private nuisance per se may be found under two narrowly limited kinds of circumstances. The first set of circumstances is where the act is so risky that damage and harm are almost certain, or put another way, when a situation is so obviously extremely unsafe that calamity is almost certain to result. To determine, as a matter of law, whether this first type of nuisance per se exists, the court looks to the surrounding area and circumstances.

The second type of circumstances which may result in a determination of nuisance per se are acts that are wrong in themselves. These acts are illegal, violations of general human decency, and immoral. Situations that may constitute the second type of nuisance per se include the establishment of brothels, apartments or storefronts that hide illegal casinos, facilities used to manufacture of moonshine or methamphetamine, or the use of a property as a place for drug addicts to intoxicate themselves and deal drugs.

Unless the sort of harm that constitutes nuisance per se can be shown, the determination as to whether conduct constitutes a private nuisance is a matter for the jury to decide at trial. It is therefore advisable to consult with experienced trial counsel before bringing a claim of private nuisance.

If you have a claim for private nuisance or you are being sued for private nuisance call our experienced New York tort litigation lawyers today for a free consultation.

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