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3.9-24  Public Nuisance - Personal Injury

Revised to January 1, 2008

The plaintiff alleges that (he/she) sustained personal injuries because of a public nuisance on land under the control of the defendant.  A public nuisance exists if:

  1. the condition complained of has a natural tendency to create danger and inflict injury upon person or property;

  2. the danger created is a continuing one;

  3. the use of the land is unreasonable or unlawful; and

  4. the condition or conduct complained of interferes with a right common to the general public.  As to this element, the test is not whether the nuisance in fact annoyed a number of persons.  Rather, the plaintiff must prove that the injury occurred while the plaintiff was exercising rights which are common to all members of the public, rights that anyone in that circumstance was entitled to engage in at the time.

If you find that the plaintiff has proved that the defendant allowed the land to be used in such a way that each element of a public nuisance has been established, then the plaintiff has established that the defendant is liable to the plaintiff, provided the plaintiff proves that the nuisance was a proximate cause of the injuries suffered by the plaintiff.  If the plaintiff fails to prove any one element, then a public nuisance has not been established.

Authority

See Keeney v. Old Saybrook, 237 Conn. 135, 162-63 (1996) (public nuisance generally).  "'Nuisances are public where they violate public rights, and produce a common injury,' and where they constitute an obstruction to public rights, 'that is, the rights enjoyed by citizens as part of the public.' 39 Am. Jur. 286."  Higgins v. Connecticut Light & Power Co., 129 Conn. 606, 611 (1943) (discussing exercise of a common right).
 


 

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