Personal Injury Law
What is the tort of nuisance?
Nuisance is a tort that protects a person’s right to enjoyment of his or land from substantial interference. Often nuisances involve conduct that occurs near a plaintiff’s land but does not involve an actual physical trespass. Let’s say a person constantly hears a barrage of loud music from his neighbor. The neighbor may have committed the tort of nuisance if the music is loud enough that it unreasonably interferes with the neighbor’s enjoyment of his property.
Nuisances are divided into public nuisances and private nuisances. A public nuisance involves harm to the public at large. A house of prostitution or a crack house (used as a place for the sale of illegal drugs) may constitute public nuisances.
The city of Chicago and Cook County, Illinois, filed a nuisance action against several gun manufacturers, distributors, and dealers, contending that their production, distribution, and sale of handguns in a community harmed by gun violence created a public nuisance. However, the Illinois Supreme Court rejected the claim, finding that the handgun violence was caused by the superseding, intervening causes of third parties (actual criminals) rather than the companies associated with the creation, sale, and distribution of guns.