Monday, November 25, 2013

Armstrong v. Francis Corp. case brief

Armstrong v. Francis Corp. case brief summary
120 A.2d 4 (N.J. 1956)

Defendant appealed a judgment in plaintiffs' favor which ordered it to build a pipe line to alleviate water damage on adjoining landowners' property, in the Superior Court, Chancery Division (New Jersey).

Defendant development company built a subdivision on a tract of land on which a natural stream existed. Defendant constructed a drainage system that increased flow to the stream which intersected plaintiffs' properties. The increased flow caused substantial erosion and threatened the septic system on plaintiffs' land. The lower court ordered defendant to build a pipeline to remedy the harmful effects of the overflow.


  • The court determined the reasonable use rule applied to resolve whether defendant incurred liability for harmful interference with the flow of surface waters. 
  • The court found the issue of reasonable use to be a factual question. 
  • The court indicated weighing utility of the possessor's land use with gravity of resulting harm is a proper consideration. 
  • The court found the findings below amply supported by competent evidence. 
  • Therefore, the judgment was affirmed.
The court affirmed judgment in plaintiffs' favor because under the reasonable use rule, the factual findings below amply supported determination that defendant should pay the costs for harmful effect of interference with flow of stream.

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