Monday, July 27, 2020

Issues of Private Nuisance and Public Nuisance Re: Landfill Reviewed

In the case of Baptiste v. Bethlehem Landfill Company, No. 19-1692 (3d Cir. July 13, 2020 Restrepo, J., Roth, J., and Fisher, J.), the court addressed a landfill Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss.

According to the Opinion, the Plaintiffs brought an action against the Bethlehem Landfill Company on behalf of a class of homeowners and renters claiming interference with the use and enjoyment of their homes and a loss in property value caused by the noxious odors and other air contaminants emanating from the landfill. The Plaintiffs brought these claims under three (3) state-law tort theories, that being public nuisance, private nuisance, and negligence. 

The lower court had granted the landfill company’s Motion to Dismiss after finding that too many residents were similarly affected to sustain a private claim for public nuisance, that the odors affected too many people and the landfill was too far away from them to constitute a private nuisance and that the Plaintiffs had failed to identify a duty of care to maintain a negligence claim. 

On appeal, the Third Circuit disagreed and therefore reversed and remanded. The court’s 31 page Opinion makes for an interesting read. 

Anyone wishing to review a copy of this decision may click this LINK.

I send thanks to Attorney John P. Finnerty of the Moosic, Pennsylvania offices of Dougherty, Leventhal & Price law firm for bringing this case to my attention

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