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For the final exam, you will want to memorize multi-part categories.

Private nuisances, for instance,

are (1) intentional (2) nontrespassory (3) unreasonable (4) Substantial interference with use and

Property Case Briefs:

State v. Shack
Facts: D entered upon private property to aid migrant farmworkers. They were asked by the owner to leave, but
they refused. P called a State Trooper who required that he write a formal written charge against P, which he did.

Issue: Can a landowner refuse entry to aid workers seeking to provide aid to migrant workers housed on the
landowner’s property?

Holding: A landowner may not bar migrant workers who are legitimate occupants of the land the right to visitors,
legal counsel, or other assistance provided for by the federal, state or local government, nor bar members of the
press reasonable access to migrant workers who do not object to seeing them.

Reasoning: Owning the property that people occupy is not sufficient grounds for controlling them. The well-being
of occupants is separate from the ground they occupy. Migrant workers are promised certain aid under Title III-B
of the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964, and denying migrants access to these services by legitimate
organizations is interfering with their rights. You do not have absolute rights to your property – you strike a
balance between your rights and people with a legitimate interests in utilizing that property in some way. “One
should use his property so as not to injure others”… kind of like “my right to swing my fist ends where your face

Class Notes:

- Migrants are a kind of disadvantaged group that is particularly vulnerable legally and politically
- SCOPE is federally funded
- One of the issues: are there any exceptions to trespass?
- The supremacy clause states that federal law takes precedent over state law.
- The migrant occupants occupy the land on a license basis.
- Zoning restrictions are a govt right, as well as regulations against nuisances

Sundowner, Inc v King

Facts: Bushnell sold the Sundowner Motel to D. Bushnell then built another motel on property immediately
adjoining the property. When he sold it, he built an 18 foot wall that restricts “obscures approximately 80 percent
of the Desert Inn building and restricts the passage of light and air to its room”. P is seeking damages and
injunctive relief compelling the removal of the structure.

Issue: Whether the trial court erred in requiring partial abatement of the structure on the ground that it was a
spite fence.

Holding: No property owner has the right to erect and maintain an otherwise useless structure for the sole
purpose of injuring his neighbor. Lower court affirmed.

Reasoning: You can’t build a structure with no other reason than to injury someone else: damaging other people
isn’t a right that you have. You don’t have an absolute right to your property, there is some degree of responsibility
to others. Burke v Smith also helps support this case because it established that acting solely out of malice can be
cause for action or damages.

- There probably should have been a non-compete clause.

- Ultimately, the court finds that it’s not reasonable
- A “natural law claim” would say that they had a right to sun, light, and air, but the U.S. doesn’t
recognize natural law.
- Private Law: Intentional, nontrespassory, unreasonable, substantial interference with use and

Prah v. Maretti
Facts: P owned a house, the first in the subdivision, that uses solar power. His neighbor (D) began constructing a
house, and P informed him that if he built a house at that location it would substantially and adversely affect the
integrity of P’s solar system and cause other damages. D built anyway. P claims he is entitled to “unrestricted use
of the sun and its solar power”, he wants injunctive relief and damages. Also, P wants a temporary injunction to
stop the construction of the house.

Issue: Whether an owner of a solar-heated residence states a claim upon which relief can be granted when he
asserts that his neighbors proposed construction of a residence that interferes with his access to an unobstructed
path for sunlight across the neighbor’s property.

…in other words…

If you have a solar-powered home, can you seek relief if his neighbor’s new house denies sunlight?

Holding: Obstruction to solar power can be considered a nuisance and P can be granted relief.

Reasoning: We ought to apply the private nuisance law, which governs reasonable use of one’s property in
consideration of other’s interests. Doing this will not hinder the development of land nor will it harm the adjoining
land – it will promote the reasonable use and enjoyment of the land. Obstruction of light can be considered a

Class Notes:

- Procedural Posture: appeal of a summary judgement question

- Interestingly enough: there is no illegal activity in this case. The procedural posture of this case is to
decide whether there is enough evidence to make a case that it is a private nuisance.

Eyerman v. Mercantile Trust Co.

Facts: Owner of a St. Louis home willed that, upon her death, her house will be destroyed and
the land sold. P claim that the destruction of the home will (1) hurt their property rights, (2)
violate the terms of the subdivision trust indenture, (3) produce an actionable private nuisance
and (4) is contrary to public policy.
Issue: Does the public and surrounding community have legally protected interests in a will
that, if executed, would be contrary to public policy and the surrounding community?
Holding: Reversed, grants petition to keep the home.
Reasoning: This case doesn’t just involve a woman and her property, there are other interests
involved too, namely her neighbors and the surrounding community. There is no reason for this
to be taken, so the court doesn’t really have grounds for calling it rational. The taking of
property by will isn’t even an absolute right… plus you can better do stuff while you’re living.
Also, it’s against public policy because it is injurious to the state.

Class Notes: