Under Missouri nuisance laws, when odors interfere with a homeowner’s use and enjoyment of his property, the homeowner may have the option of suing for personal injury. These types of cases can be as difficult to win in court as any other tort claim, but speaking with an experienced personal injury law attorney in St. Louis can help address your particular situation.
First, a legal claim of nuisance can be either public or private, but commonly it alleges elements of both. A public nuisance action asserts that the intrusion of odor, light, or other physical items have essentially trespassed onto private property, and endanger the public’s health, safety or welfare. In either case, the plaintiff may be an owner or tenant of real property. Both types of nuisance actions must show that the defendant has allowed an unreasonable interference; the court does not focus on intention, unless the defendant has intentionally trespassed. The plaintiff must also show pecuniary, or financial, damages in order to prevail. In addition to pecuniary (or, financial) damages, the court may grant either a temporary or permanent injunction to halt whatever causes the interference.
In considering whether the intrusion was reasonable, courts consider several factors including the location and zoning laws. Courts must balance the utility and cost of relocating a business on the one hand with the resident’s right to reasonable use and enjoyment on the other hand. An example of the process of weighing the industry’s usefulness can be seen in a recent tug-of-war between a St. Louis County landfill and the nearby suburbs. Although this situation has not culminated in a lawsuit, the landfill owners appear to be working to address the odor issue.
If you are experiencing intrusion into your use and enjoyment of your property due to industry light, noise, odors or any other physical trespass, a knowledgeable personal injury and nuisance attorney can help you discuss your options.