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Monday, December 13, 2010

Fracking as Nuisance?

Thanks to reader Lee Van Put for pointing me to this article arguing that nuisance law might be used to put a break on gas drilling in the Northeast.  The basic argument that drilling practices that cause harm to neighbors might be a nuisance seems reasonable to me.  It strikes me that this can't be the first time this kind of issue has come up for drilling practices - anyone know of any specific precedents?  The harm/benefit scenario reminds me of Boomer, which would be controlling in New York - damages might be awarded rather than an injunction.

Ben Barros

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December 13, 2010 in Natural Resources, Nuisance | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Grinch, Property, and Nuisance

How Economics [and Property Rights] Saved Christmas, via Forbes.

Ben Barros

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December 9, 2010 in Law & Economics, Nuisance, Property Theory | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Bed Bugs -- Ick!

I love the Diane Rehm show, but I just listened to a very disturbing installment regarding bed bugs.  Apparently they are on the rise, particularly in New York City, although several people called in from Cincy, Kansas City, and other larger cities reporting they had problems.  It is also a big issue in college dorms.

A few key points:

1.  They are very difficult to get rid of.

2.  They are very easy to transmit from place to place, including from hotel room to home and from unit to unit in a multi-family development.

3.  They are difficult to detect unless you know what the signs are.

4.  They don't really like mattresses.  They don't like light, so they hide in crevices, clutter, behind pictures, baseboards, etc.

Of course, I think this has all kinds of interesting Property implications.  For example, should states require disclosure of bed bugs along with roof leaks and other latent defects in home sales?  Should landlords be required to disclose bed bugs to tenants?  Should tenants be required to tell their landlords if they have bed bugs in order to prevent transmission to adjoining units? 

I am suddenly very itchy.

Tanya Marsh

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August 19, 2010 in Landlord-Tenant, Nuisance | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Are cell phones a nuisance? Maybe to the bees.

Colony collapse disorder (in which bees inexplicably leave their hives and never return) seems like it has been pulled from the plotline of a M. Night Shyamalan horror movie.  Given the integral role that bees play in food production, this issue is fairly disturbing. 

But even more disturbing is a recent study from Chandigarh's Punjab University which places the blame squarely on mobile phones.  Read a report in The Daily Telegraph here or watch a bee video on CNN.com here.  

Ved Prakash Sharma and Neelima Kumar, the authors of the report in the journal Current Science, wrote: "Increase in the usage of electronic gadgets has led to electropollution of the environment.  Honeybee behaviour and biology has been affected by electrosmog since these insects have magnetite in their bodies which helps them in navigation."

"There are reports of sudden disappearance of bee populations from honeybee colonies. The reason is still not clear. We have compared the performance of honeybees in cellphone radiation exposed and unexposed colonies.  A significant decline in colony strength and in the egg laying rate of the queen was observed. The behaviour of exposed foragers was negatively influenced by the exposure, there was neither honey nor pollen in the colony at the end of the experiment."

This is just one study, so obviously the science is still out on the issue.  Laying aside my question of whether this information will impact my planned purchase of an iPhone 4, it seems that this raises interesting questions for first year Property students to struggle with:

Would a farmer suffering from a lack of bees have a nuisance claim against a neighbor who has a cell phone tower on their land?  If the flowers in my back yard are looking a little peaked, would I have a nuisance claim against my neighbor who lounges in the back yard all day talking on their cell phone?

Tanya Marsh

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June 30, 2010 in Nuisance | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, April 19, 2010

Aesthetic Nuisance in the News

You just have to read a news story that begins like this:

They say a man's home is his castle, but does that include the right to turn it into an eyesore?

On a quiet side street south of Daytona Beach, Robert Hodges' corner house is painted randomly with purple, yellow, orange, green and pink. A toilet and rusting bike stand by a tree, old pieces of a wood deck are scattered and a large sand mound is decorated with skis, golf clubs, plastic ducks and Christmas ornaments. Criss-crossing the front yard are several clotheslines featuring boxers, a pair of hot-pink feathery skivvies and colorful extra-large bras.

"Oh, yes, it's beautiful!" declares Hodges, a snowbird retiree from Memphis, Tenn. who prefers the moniker Prince Mongo. "It's absolutely gorgeous."

And it's his own personal protest.

Upset at complaints by neighbors over a wood deck that prompted county officials to cite him for a code violation, he transformed a $300,000 beachside home into a wildly provocative property that stands out as much as he does.

(H/T Daniel Ernst)

Ben Barros

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April 19, 2010 in Land Use, Nuisance | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)