Monday, February 1, 2021

Law of Nuisance Applied to Noisy Rooster

Thank God there are lawyers to settle important disputes.

In the case of Batchelor v. Schwartz, No. 2018-08910-IR (C.P. Chester Co. June 15, 2020 Tunnell, J.), the court ruled that the crowing of a Defendant’s rooster caused significant harm to a person of normal sensibility such that the Plaintiffs were granted a judgment in their favor on a nuisance claim.

According to the Opinion, the Plaintiffs and the Defendant lived near each other in a residential neighborhood. The Defendant had a backyard farm that included chickens, a rooster, and other farm animals.

The Plaintiffs filed this nuisance claim, asserting that the Defendant’s rooster made loud, repetitive noises which kept the Plaintiffs, their family members, and guest awake at night. One of the Plaintiffs had even sought help for sleep disorders.

The court reaffirmed Pennsylvania law on nuisance claims. A nuisance can be found under Pennsylvania law where a personal engages in an unreasonable use of property which results in some type of injury to another person’s legitimate enjoyment of their own property. The test is whether or not the Defendant’s activity caused significant harm to a person of normal or reasonable sensibilities.

The court found that the prolonged situation involved in this case was significantly harmful and constituted an unlawful invasion of the Plaintiff’s right to enjoy their property.

The court’s decision was based, in part, on medical evidence presented relating to one of the Plaintiffs, testimony regarding sleep disturbances to others due to the rooster, and the court’s own review of audio evidence of the noise caused by the rooster’s crowing which was noted to be quite loud even inside the Plaintiffs’ home.

In ruling for the Plaintiffs, the court ordered the Defendant to abate the nuisance by placing the rooster in a barn overnight.

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

Source: “Digest of Recent Opinions.” Pennsylvania Law Weekly (Jan. 5, 2021).

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