Friday, February 10, 2012

Adams v. Cleveland Cliffs Iron Co. case brief

Adams v. Cleveland Cliffs Iron Co.
Court of Appeals, MI
602 N.W.2d 215

P's brought suit seeking damages in both trespass and nuisance for dust, noise, and vibrations coming from D’s iron ore plant.  D’s mine is in operation continuously, never ceasing.  Jury instructions in trial court instructed them on both trespass and nuisance, and jury found damages in trespass.  It did not reach a conclusion as to nuisance.

D appeals from a jury verdict awarding damages in trespass for intrusion of dust, noise, and vibrations. (amount of award is approximately $600K)

1.  Do P’s have a sustainable action under trespass?
2.  Do plaintiffs have a sustainable action under nuisance?
-Possibly (remanded).

Court reversed as to  finding on trespass, remanded for further proceedings regarding nuisance.

-Court narrowed the definition of trespass to only include tangible trespasses, so that P could only recover under nuisance theory.  
-They wanted to avoid further confusion and delineation between the two theories because they are different and apply to different situations.  
-Court wants to ‘keep the line between the torts of trespass and nuisance from fading into a wavering and uncertain ambiguity.’  

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