Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Stafford v. Shea

Supreme Court of New Hampshire

October 19, 2006

Ronald Stafford & a.
v.
Lucille A. Shea, Trustee

UNPUBLISHED OPINION

The defendant, Lucille A. Shea, Trustee, appeals an order of the trial court finding that a fence that she erected was a nuisance and ordering her to reduce its scope. We reverse.

A private nuisance exists when an activity substantially and unreasonably interferes with the use and enjoyment of another's property. Cook v. Sullivan, 149 N.H. 774, 780 (2003). To constitute a nuisance, the defendant's activities must cause harm that exceeds the customary interferences with land that a land user suffers in an organized society, and be an appreciable and tangible interference with a property interest. Id. In determining whether an act interfering with the use and enjoyment is so unreasonable and substantial as to amount to a nuisance and warrant an injunction, a court must balance the gravity of the harm to the plaintiff against the utility of the defendant's conduct, both to himself and to the community. Id. at 780-81. Essential to a finding of a private nuisance is a determination that the interference complained of is substantial and that it is unreasonable. Robie v. Lillis, 112 N.H. 492, 495-96 (1972).

In this case, the trial court specifically found that the contested fence did "little to impede the view of the lake by plaintiffs except in a newly created seating area." The court also declined to grant requested findings that the fence constituted a "significant obstruction, " that it "seriously obstruct[ed]" plaintiffs' view or that it caused a "very substantial reduction in view of the lake." (Emphasis added.) Based upon the record before us, we conclude that the plaintiffs failed to establish by a preponderance of the evidence the existence of a nuisance. See Cook v. Sullivan, 149 N.H. at 781. Accordingly, we reverse.

Reversed.

BRODERICK, CJ, and DUGGAN and GALWAY, JJ, ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.