Torts II, Pages 873–876

Spur Industries, Inc. v. Del E. Webb Development Co.

Supreme Court of Arizona, 1972

Judgment:

Injunction affirmed. Remanded to trial court for a hearing upon the damages sustained by defendant by the permanent injunction.

Facts:

Defendant ran a cattle feedlot in a well-suited location. After it had been operating for three years, plaintiff began to develop land some distance away. After eight years of development, plaintiff expanded to within 500 feet of defendant. Defendant was feeding 20,000–30,000 cattle, and the odor therefrom annoyed plaintiff's residents. Plaintiff sued under public nuisance theory.

Procedural History:

Trial court concluded that defendant's operation was an enjoinable public nuisance.

Note:

"Enjoin" means to put an injunction on

Issues:

  • Can a lawful business be enjoined in an action brought by residents that moved into the area of the business?

  • Can the developer of a new residential area be required to indemnify a party that was enjoined to the developer's bringing of people there?

Rule:

In "coming to the nuisance" cases, a residential landowner cannot have relief if he knowingly came into a neighborhood reserved for industrial or agricultural use.

Reasoning:

Defendant did not do anything wrong, but its actions hurt plaintiff and the nearby residents anyway. While plaintiff should have known that the area was primarily agricultural, he is not entitled to relief for the nuisance. However, the residents that plaintiff has brought were encouraged to do so, so the injunction should be granted for them.

However, because plaintiff brought the people to defendant, it should be required to indemnify defendant. Defendant was blameless, but plaintiff was not.

Rule/Holding:

Yes, a lawful business can be enjoined when a developer brings new people to the business's area. However, the developer is required to indemnify the business in such a scenario.

Note:

Professor Bell really does not like this case.