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This is a lawsuit brought by a group of landowners who live near a dairy farm. The issue is whether the aromatic nature of the farm’s creation and processing of manure is a public nuisance. Please review the simulation. Using knowledge gained from the interactive and the course material, write a paper evaluating whether or not you agree or disagree with the judge’s ruling and why.
The components of your analysis must include the following.
Factual Summary: Provide a succinct and accurate description of the scenario at hand. Summarize the scenario to include all relevant facts.
Issue: Restate or summarize the question. What is the legal question you are going to answer?
Legal Concept(s): Identify and discuss one or more legal concepts from the course material about environmental protection law when exploring the problem at hand. Define the legal concept(s) and explain how the concept(s) relate(s) to the given scenario.
 
Analysis/Conclusion: Analyze the factual scenario in relation to the legal concept in order to reach a well-reasoned conclusion. Be sure to apply the legal concept correctly toward solving the legal issue.
 
Paper should be double spaced in 12-point font and approximately 500-750 words. At least two sources must be correctly cited using APA citations, including both in-text parenthetical citations and an end-of-text list of references.
 
 
Simulation: Environmental Nuisance Lawsuit
In this exercise, you will be observing a court hearing of a private nuisance suit. The background information below is provided to familiarize you with some of the major legal issues presented. After you read the information below and observe the simulation, you should complete the assignment.
 
Background Information
Long before there was environmental legislation, there were courts grappling with the problems of pollution. Before there was an Environmental Protection Agency, those who allowed something noxious to escape their control and invade the property of others could be held accountable for their actions through private litigation. The doctrines of nuisance and trespass revolve around the interference with a property owner’s (or the public’s) right and ability to enjoy his or her (or public) land.
 
As Supreme Court Justice George Sutherland said in a case in 1926, “Nuisance may be merely a right thing in a wrong place like a pig in the parlor instead of the barnyard.” Nuisance actions may be private or public. A private nuisance is a substantial and unreasonable interference with the use and enjoyment of an interest in property. A public nuisance is an act that causes inconvenience or damage to public health or order or that obstructs public rights. If a harmful substance is allowed, intentionally or carelessly, to invade the property of another, whether by land, air, or water, there may be a trespass. If so, the defendant is held responsible for damages.
 
Even though there is a vast body of federal law in effect today, common law actions can still be brought. A court or local pollution control board will generally consider the following facts in a nuisance case: (1) character and degree of injury, (2) social or economic value of the source, (3) suitability or unsuitability of the source (including the question of priority of location), (4) technical practicability and economic reasonableness of control, and (5) subsequent compliance (if any).
Various enforcement mechanisms exist. Civil and criminal penalties for both the firm and its managers are possible, although usually the initial step is a warning and the development of a compliance schedule. In severe cases, entire operations may be shut down.
Transcript
Environmental Nuisance Lawsuit
Judge: Good morning, counsel.
Plaintiff Counsel: Good morning, Your Honor. Kelly Greene for the Plaintiff.
Defense Counsel: A good day to you too, Your Honor. Pat Calloway for the Defense.
Judge: I have had a chance to look over your documents. It appears that this is a citizen’s
suit against the liquid manure spreading operation of a large dairy farm.
Plaintiff Counsel: Yes, I represent the Neighbors Invested in a Clean Environment,
known as NICE, a group of land owners who live near Northfield Farms, a dairy farm in
the town of Bountiful.
Defense Counsel: Your Honor, I represent the defendant, Chris Lively, owner of the
farm. Northfield Farm is one of the largest dairy farms in the state and has forty-three
employees.
The farm is composed of 1,500 crop acres and has an animal population of 1,400 head of
mature cows with over 1,500 head of young cattle, heifers and calves, making a total of
2,900 animals.
Judge: I see. Who will be testifying today?
Defense Counsel: Chris Lively will appear for the defense.
Plaintiff Counsel: Sam Anxious will be testifying on behalf of NICE.
Judge: Since this is a civil lawsuit brought by NICE, they will have the burden of proof
and will present evidence first. This will be a bench trial, according to state law, without
a jury present. Essentially, I will decide if the common law offenses of nuisance and/or
trespass have been raised by the facts presented. Is the plaintiff ready?
Plaintiff Counsel: Yes, we are ready to call Sam Anxious to the stand.
Judge: I remind the witness that you are still under oath from an earlier appearance
before this court on a motion to dismiss brought by the defendant, which I denied.
Sam Anxious: I understand.
Judge: Counsel, you may proceed.
Plaintiff Counsel: Thank you, Your Honor. For the record, why has NICE brought this
common law lawsuit against a dairy farm? Sam Anxious: I’m glad you asked that question. Unlike old-fashioned dairy farms,
Northfield’s operations do not involve setting the cows out to pasture. Instead, the cows
remain in their barns except when they are milked, which happens three times a day.
Plaintiff Counsel: So, isn’t the manure inside the barns?
Sam Anxious: Well, old-fashioned dairy farms spread the accumulated manure with a
manure spreader. But Northfield generates so much manure, it’s handled through the use
of storage lagoons and liquid cow manure.
Plaintiff Counsel: How much manure are we talking about?
Sam Anxious: Well, it’s a lot. There are six storage lagoons on the main farm property.
Just one four-acre manure storage lagoon has a capacity of approximately six-to-eight
million gallons of liquid cow manure.
Plaintiff Counsel: Wow! That’s a lot of …
Judge: Watch your language please.
Plaintiff Counsel: Oh, sorry, Your Honor. So, do you live nearby?
Sam Anxious: I live on the next parcel and, I can tell you, the smell is horrific.
Plaintiff Counsel: Doesn’t the manure just sit in these lagoons?
Sam Anxious: I wish. They use the stuff as fertilizer for the land. A series of pipes
connects a center pivot to the storage lagoons, and the liquid manure is spread out over
the fields that way. The pivot is self-propelled, and the manure gets sprayed somewhere
between 12 and 30 feet in the air all the time.
Plaintiff Counsel: Aside from the smell, which would certainly appear to be a substantial
and unreasonable interference with the use and enjoyment of an interest in property…
Defense Counsel: Objection! Counsel is making a legal conclusion on the ultimate
question of private nuisance and testifying.
Judge: Sustained. Counsel, refrain from trying to do my work for me. I will make these
decisions. You may proceed.
Plaintiff Counsel: Of course. Returning our attention to your contact with the manure
next door at Northfield, is there more to it than the, as you call it, “horrific” smell?
Sam Anxious: My property and Northfield share a boundary line with Bountiful State
Park. Part of the farm has a field containing a slew and swale which tends to collect liquid manure spread by Northfield’s tankers and conveys it through a pipe in a stonewall
and through the stonewall itself into a ditch which runs for some length on the Northfield
property before it reaches the boundary of the state park.
Plaintiff Counsel: What is slew and swale?
Sam Anxious: Sorry, that is a depression that contains marshy land.
Plaintiff Counsel: I see, please continue.
Sam Anxious: Well, I saw the manure collecting in the slew
 
 
Analysis/Conclusion: Analyze the factual scenario in relation to the legal concept in order to reach a well-reasoned conclusion. Be sure to apply the legal concept correctly toward solving the legal issue.
 
Paper should be double spaced in 12-point font and approximately 500-750 words. At least twosources must be correctly cited using APA citations, including both in-text parenthetical citations and an end-of-text list of references.

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