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Nuisance: Real Property/Estate Interference

An owner of real estate may maintain a lawsuit for nuisance if there is an unreasonable, unusual, or unnatural use of one’s property so that it substantially impairs the right of another to peacefully enjoy his or her property. Frank v. Envtl. Sanitation Msgmt, Inc., 687 S.W.2d 876, 880 (Mo. 1985).

A nuisance claim is focused on a defendant’s unreasonable interference with a plaintiff’s use and enjoyment of his or her land. The competing interests in these claims are the rights of neighboring property owners. Therefore, these claims can be complex because the unreasonable use element of nuisance seeks to balance those property rights.

Nusainces can be temporary or permanent. Cook v. DeSoto Fuels, Inc., 169 S.W.3d 94, 106 (Mo. Ct. App. 2005). A temporary nuisance exists if the nuisance may be abated. A permanent nuisance exists if abatement is impracticable or impossible. Whether a nuisance is temporary or permanent is important in that, among other things, the characterization determines the measure of damages.

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