Friday, November 8, 2019
Eugene Volokh writes:
Yes, a Georgia trial court held, and the jury awarded the neighbors $1.5 million, see https://www.mdjonline.com/news/cobb-jury-tells-abortion-doctor-to-pay-million-for-creating/article_f2719f5a-de46-11e9-b3de-8fab09664f5b.html . As best I can tell from the article and from some of the court papers, the plaintiff neighbors’ claim was chiefly that the clinic attracted a constant stream of protesters, some of whom displayed graphic images of aborted fetuses, some of whom trespassed and accosted visitors to other businesses in the office park, some of whom tried to organize a boycott of the whole office park, and some of them (people suspect) had set a fire and might do it again. (Part of the claim seems also to be that the clinic’s operation violated parts of the office park owners association’s rules, in which all the owners promised not to create nuisances, but let’s set that aside here.)
I’m quite skeptical of this result, as I would be if plaintiffs could sue a bookstore that drew protesters or even attackers because it sold controversial literature, a fur store that drew anti-fur protesters, or a business that drew labor protesters. But I want to make sure I understand the proper nuisance law analysis here; any thoughts from people who have studied nuisance law more closely than I have?
Please respond in the comments.