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Litigation concerning private nuisance deals with the conflicting interests of property owners and the question of the reasonableness of defendant's mode of use of his land. The process of adjudication requires recognition of the reciprocal right of each owner to reasonable use and a balancing of the conflicting interests. The utility of defendant's conduct must be weighed against the quantum of harm to plaintiff. The question is not simply whether a person is annoyed or disturbed, but whether the annoyance or disturbance arises from an unreasonable use of the neighbor's land or operation of his business.
Plaintiff property owners built a home in defendant developer's lots before they discovered that golf tees were so close to their home. Their daily lives were affected by the proximity of the golf tees due to the noise, inability to use their land safely, invasions of privacy due to the nearby golfers, and golfers' unreasonable requests not to create distractions. Defendant built a temporary tee, which resolved plaintiffs' concerns, but made the golf course less desirable. An injunction was issued by the superior court against defendant, barring the further use of the men's and women's third tees of its golf course. The Appellate Division affirmed. Defendant appealed.
Did the superior court properly bar enjoin defendant from further use of the men's and women's third tees of its golf course?
The court affirmed the injunction order to prevent defendant's private nuisance and held that in balancing the parties' interests, plaintiffs' interests were paramount because defendant's activities materially and unreasonably interfered with plaintiffs' normal use of their property and their concerns were resolved by a reasonable accommodation.