Private Nuisance Lawsuit Against Poultry Business Near Residential Area

Was the Poultry Business a Nuisance as it was Bothersome to the Plaintiffs Residing in the Area Before This Facility was Raised? In Woods v. Khan, 95 Ill. App. 3d 1087, 1088, 420 N.E.2d 1028, 51 Ill. Dec. 470 (1981), the plaintiffs brought a lawsuit to enjoin the defendants' poultry business as a private nuisance. The plaintiffs lived within a mile of the defendants' poultry business in rural Godfrey, Illinois, and they had lived there before the defendants built their facility in the area. Woods, 95 Ill. App. 3d at 1088. The neighborhood was zoned agricultural, and many of the plaintiffs raised livestock on their own property. Woods, 95 Ill. App. 3d at 1088. The plaintiffs complained that the poultry facility resulted in bad odors and swarms of flies and that the intensity of both varied from day to day. Woods, 95 Ill. App. 3d at 1089. Some of the plaintiffs were required to seal their houses when the odor and insects were at their worst, and some plaintiffs cut back on outdoor activities and quit inviting guests to their homes. Some plaintiffs complained of breathing difficulties, sore throats, and nausea. Woods, 95 Ill. App. 3d at 1089. In Woods, the court concluded "that the trial court properly determined that the odors and flies were sufficiently bothersome to justify injunctive relief." Woods, 95 Ill. App. 3d at 1090. In weighing the gravity of the harm to the plaintiffs against the utility of the defendants' business and the suitability of its location, the court stated that the following questions had to be answered: (1) Are the defendants engaged in a useful enterprise? (2) Is this area of rural Godfrey well suited for an egg production facility? (3) Which came first, the chickens or the plaintiffs? (4) Can the odors and flies be reduced? (5) Is modification of the facility practical?" Woods, 95 Ill. App. 3d at 1090. The court concluded that although the poultry facility was a vital industry, the poultry facility was the "newcomer to the area" and was located too close to several residences.