Is Unreasonable Unwarranted or Unlawful Use by a Person of His Own Property That Interferes With the Rights of Others a Nuisance ?
In Hutcherson v. Alexander, 264 Cal. App. 2d 126, 70 Cal.Rptr. 366 (1968), the California Court of Appeal found a nuisance in the conduct of the defendant's business vis-a-vis the plaintiff's business, under the following definition:
"It is the general rule that the unreasonable, unwarrantable, or unlawful use by a person of his own property so as to interfere with the rights of others is a nuisance.
In fact, any unwarranted activity which causes substantial injury to the property of another or obstructs its reasonable use and enjoyment is a nuisance which may be abated.
And, even a lawful use of one's property may constitute a nuisance if it is part of a general scheme to annoy a neighbor and if the main purpose of the use is to prevent the neighbor from reasonable enjoyment of his own property." Hutcherson, 264 Cal. App. 2d at 130, 70 Cal.Rptr. at 369.
Hutcherson involved two competing businesses. Hutcherson, 264 Cal. App. 2d at 129, 70 Cal.Rptr. at 368.
On his own property, the defendant maliciously erected a 15-foot fence that was designed to obscure the plaintiff's business, a drive-in, so that motorists would not see it when passing by on the adjacent highway. Hutcherson, 264 Cal. App. 2d at 130-31, 70 Cal.Rptr. at 369-70.
The appellate court held that erecting this fence, along with many other activities, was done to annoy the plaintiff and was part of a general scheme to interfere with the plaintiff's reasonable use and enjoyment of his property. Hutcherson, 264 Cal. App. 2d at 131, 70 Cal.Rptr. at 370.