Amphitheaters, Inc. v. Portland Meadows

184 Or. 336, 198 P.2d 847 (1948)



Whether a particular annoyance or inconvenience is sufficient to constitute a nuisance depends upon its effect upon an ordinarily reasonable man, that is, a normal person of ordinary habits and sensibilities.


Plaintiff theater owner leased land and constructed an outdoor theater. At the same time, the defendant track owner developed the property on an adjacent piece of land. Plaintiff theater owner brought an action against defendant track owner, alleging that the light created by the track interfered with the theater's outdoor screen and resulted in a trespass. The Circuit Court entered a directed verdict in favor of the track owner. The theater owner appealed. The theater owner argued that the trial court erred in failing to submit the case to the jury on the theory of nuisance. The court affirmed the directed verdict issued by the trial court in favor of the defendant but strictly limited the holding to the specific facts of the case.


Was the  inconvenience caused by defendant's installation of such gravity that it constituted a nuisance?




By way of summary, we have found no case in which it has been held that light alone constitutes a nuisance merely because it damaged one who was abnormally sensitive or whose use of his land was of a peculiarly delicate and sensitive character.  We limit our decision to the specific facts of this case and hold as a matter of law that the loss sustained by the plaintiff by the spilled light which has been reflected onto the highly sensitized moving picture screen from the defendant's property 832 feet distant, and which light in intensity is approximately that of a full moon, is damnum abseque injuria

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