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Though not a nuisance per se, any business so conducted as to become such may be enjoined. The law is clear that where a trade or business as carried on interferes with the reasonable and comfortable enjoyment by another of his property, a wrong is done to a neighboring owner for which an action lies at law or equity. In such cases it makes no difference that the business was lawful and one useful to the public and conducted in the most approved method. The rule which must control is whether the nuisance complained of will or does produce such a condition of things as in the judgment of reasonable men is naturally productive of actual physical discomfort to persons of ordinary sensibilities, tastes, and habits, such as in view of the circumstances of the case is unreasonable and in derogation of the rights of the party, subject to the qualification that it is not every inconvenience that will call forth the restraining power of a court. The injury must be of such a character as to diminish materially the value of the property as a dwelling and seriously interfere with the ordinary comfort and enjoyment of it.
Several years ago, defendant Meadowbrook Swimming Club Inc., a business corporation, built an amusement place, including a large swimming pool, with accessory bath houses and other appropriate structures on a lot in the floor of the narrow valley of Jones' Falls. In 1935, defendant enlarged its amusement place by adding an outdoor dance floor, with a 'shell' platform for the musicians' stand. In the early summer of the same year, defendant opened the dance floor to the public, and engaged modern jazz orchestras to play dance music from nine to twelve, six nights per week, and used amplifiers to enhance the volume of sound. Immediately a number of residents and property owners, located on the hills or plateau some 200 feet or more above the dance floor level lying to the northeast, were annoyed, and complained in writing to the defendant. Thus, sundry efforts were made to minimize the alleged nuisance. Nevertheless, in spite of the competition of other noises, largely unavoidable and inevitable, mostly created by public service corporations and individuals, the blare of the brasses, the beating of the drums etc. operated by the musicians in defendant's orchestra was, and is, so penetrating and loud that witnesses who live on the sides of the hills and the plateau were unable to sleep, study, or otherwise lead normal lives in their own homes for four evenings a week during the past and present summer. The circuit court then permanently enjoined defendant from the playing of loud music upon its property in such manner as to constitute a nuisance to the plaintiffs, nearby residents, so as to deprive the latter of the reasonable use and comfortable enjoyment of their homes. Defendant appealed.
Did the trial court err in permanently enjoining defendant from the playing of loud music upon its property in such manner as to constitute a nuisance to the residents?
The court affirmed the trial court's decree. The court held that where a trade or business as carried on interfered with the reasonable and comfortable enjoyment by another of his property, a wrong was done to a neighboring owner for which an action lay at law or equity. Thus, the rule that must control was whether the nuisance complained of produced such a condition of things as in the judgment of reasonable men was naturally productive of actual physical discomfort to persons of ordinary sensibilities, tastes, and habits. In this case, the court held that the evidence established that the residents were entitled to an injunction. That no matter how many other separate and independent offenders there might be, the defendant must answer for its individual contribution. The court further held that the form of the decree was not objectionable as insufficiently definite or overly broad. As it specified the purpose and extent of the restriction it imposed, while leaving the owner at liberty to devise and apply promptly an efficient plan for the abatement of the prohibited nuisance.