Memorandum of Law

Institution Affiliation
Memorandum of law
ii. Spears failed to establish that the defendant, Richie, caused a nuisance as defined
under Florida law.
Nuisance is a common law tort which refers to an act that causes a problem or a
disturbance to other people or area. In other words, a nuisance act causes annoyance, bother,
irritation, burden or inconvenience to people. The law protects people from the nuisance that can
be caused by other people around. From history, there are so many landmark court cases that
have been decided by the courts of law basing on the provisions on nuisance. Spears V. Richie
and Hilton case in the given extract is one of the cases that are based on nuisance. However,
there are some other historical cases such as Beckham V. Marshall 85 So. 2d 552 (1956), Davis
v. Levin, 138 So. 2d 351 (1962) and Corbett v. Eastern airlines, INC, 166 So.2d 196 (1964) are
Corbett v. eastern airlines, Inc, 166 So.2d 196 facts are related to the facts found in Spears V.
Richie and Hilton.
In Beckham V. Marshall 85 So. 2d 552 (1956) case, the plaintiffs who were operating a
guest house on a Ridgeway avenue filed a lawsuit against the defendant who operated a daycare
nursery five days a week claiming that the children in the nursery were causing a private
nuisance to their property. The plaintiffs’ argument in courts was that the defendant’s nursery
children were always causing noise to the guests who came to the guest house that was just
adjacent to the school. This made some guests start avoiding this guest house opting for other
guest houses free from noise. Thus, the plaintiff claimed that he had suffered a loss due to the
nuisance caused by the children in the neighboring nursery school care. Therefore, the plaintiff
requested the court to order the defendant to pay the damages caused to his business.
The voluminous testimony to this case revealed some facts that helped the court to decide
the case. First, in the block where the plaintiff’s guesthouse was located, there were other
premises such as real estate agency office, several other guests houses of which the plaint0off’s
is one, one private home, an insurance company office a bog hotel with thirty rooms several
filling stations and a railway track at the rear of the block. All these premises adjacent to the
nursery school did not complain of the noise nuisance from children apart from the plaintiff. In
fact, the owner of the block strayed on one house in this block and admitted that he has never
been disturbed by the noise from the children care.
Another fact this case is that premises such as filling stations and the railway track could
cause even louder noise and thus more nuisance that children in the nursery school. If it is true
that children caused a nuisance to the plaintiff’s guest house, then the plaintiff need also to sue
the filling stations around where many vehicles are coming to fill caused noise.
Another fact considered in this case was that there were no zoning ordinances prohibiting
the use of properties in less than one block away in this area like in other areas. Many parts of
the cities tend to have zoning ordinances which define specific activities that can be done or
cannot be done in building blocks around. Unfortunately, at this area where this block that had
the guest house and the nursery school, there was no zoning laws that prohibited specific
activities and therefore, the guest house operators were free to operate their businesses, the filling
station were also free and even the defendant’s nursery school care was also free to carry out its
In determining this case, the court retreated to reinterpreting the term nuisance which it
stated that nuisance in law consists of using one’s property to injure the land or some incorporeal
right of one’s neighbor. The court stated that an act that which is rightful may be wrongful only
when some of its effects lead to nuisance. The requirements of a social state most especially in
the industrial community enforce the rule that no individual has an absolute freedom in the use of
his property; everyone must be resta5tined in his use to promote the equal rights. However, this
rule has been erroneously used to mean a prohibition of the use of one’s property which annoys
the neighbors. The law of private nuisance usually turns on the factual question whether the
property is put on the right and reasonable use. In other words, the plaintiff, in this case, was
basing his argument on the social state rule above. Thus, he was arguing that the defendant had
no absolute freedom of using the property.
The court ruled in favor of the defendant by stating that the plaintiff’s complaints are
trivial given since no good reasons and evidence shows that he suffered loss due to the noise
caused by children. The court pointed out that the people who live in organized communities
must necessarily suffer some form of damage, inconvenience, and annoyance from their
neighbors. Therefore, the plaintiff should get used to the little annoyance from his neighbors
because he also causes some nuisances to the neighbor. Therefore, the court denied the plaintiff
the loss costs compensation. Moreover, the court based its decision on the fact that the nursery
school opens at 8 am and closes at 5 p.m.. Most guesthouses operate starting from evening till
morning. Therefore, most guests in this guest house were not disturbed by children’s noise
during at enough because the nursery closes in the evening and children go home. Therefore, the
plaintiff facts were farfetched and could not convince the court to order for compensation.
Davis v. Levin, 138 So. 2d 351 (1962) is another case that involved nuisance facts. In this
case, the plaintiff filed a case in court claiming that the air-conditioning system that was located
in the adjoining home caused a nuisance by making a lot of noise that disturbed him and made it
hard to use some of the rooms of his house. He stated to the court that the air conditioning
system produced excessive noise. The chancellor heard the testimony of the witnesses and the
expert of the air conditioning system and decided that the air conditioning system did not cause a
nuisance to the plaintiff and thus, refused to award the plaintiff an injunctive relief he had
requested. In deciding the case, the chancellor relied on the fact that for an act to constitute to be
a nuisance, there must be an injury to a legal right.
Corbett v. eastern airlines, INC, 166 So.2d 196 is also another case that involved
nuisance. In this case, the plaintiff Corbett filed a lawsuit against the four airlines demanding for
the compensation for the loss caused due to the nuisance caused by the airlines. Like in other
nuisance cases, the court retreated to defining the interpreting the law on private nuisance. The
court turned on the factual question on whether the property was put in the right use as the law
on private nuisance states and also whether there was a substantial injury of the legal right on the
plaintiff. The court wanted to establish whether there was an injury and when the injury was real
and no fanciful or imaginary. The circuit court denied the plaintiff the compensation order he
requested the court because t court did not establish any reasonable injury of the legal right on
the side of the plaintiff. The court stated clearly that it is not everything in nature of a nuisance is
prohibited. Awarding the compensation request to the plaintiff would be entertaining triviality
since the plaintiff himself does things that also cause a public nuisance.
II Spears failed to establish that the defendant Nadine Hilton was liable for the nuisance
caused by her tenant
The case Spears V. Richie and Hilton is quite related to the above-discussed cases. In
2005, the Plaintiff Britney Spears filed a lawsuit against Nicole Richie her fellow tenant on the
condominium together with Nadine Hilton, the owner of the condominium. Spears filed the case
basing on the declaratory relief, nuisance and injunctive relief against the defenders. His
complaint consisted of five counts.
Spears is the owner of the condominium unit 102 while the defendant Richie is the
owner of unit 202 which is right above the plaintiff’s unit. Spears alleged that Richie and her
children have intentionally and substantially interfered her with the use and enjoyment of her
property that she lives in right below. She alleges that Richie and her children disturb her on a
continuous basis a disturbance that she asserted that it was deliberate. The intentional actions
included; intentional playing loud music, loud television sound, stomping on the floor, jumping
from the furniture to the floor, making noise at inappropriate hours such as at night, littering
debris in common areas such as entrance and children urinating on her doormat and sidewalk of
her unit.
Spears also testified that she did not see Richie and her children littering, but she believes
that it is Richie’s children who litter and urinate on her doormat because their house is the one
right above hers. Thus, it was beyond reasonable doubt that Richie’s children are the ones that
cause the nuisance. Troy Henderson Spears witness and neighbor stated in court that he had lived
there for ten years, and he has seen litter outside once or twice, but he did not know who was
responsible for littering since there were so many children in the condominium.
Spears also alleged that Nadine Hilton the owner of the condominium ignored his
complaints and could not ask Richie and her children to stop the nuisance. Spears admitted that
Hilton did not commit any nuisance but the fact that he did not take actions to stop the nuisance;
he was also liable for the damages caused. On his defense, Hilton told the court that he always
meets with the plaintiffs, but she has never told him about the nuisance caused by her neighbor.
However, Hilton admits that he received a letter from Montreal which Spears had written
about the disturbance her neighbor causes to her. She also testified that she once went to knock
on Richie’s door to tell him to adjust his car in the parking space so that Hilton can park his. The
reason why she went to knocking on T0chie’s door was that there was loud music and Richie
could not hear any call outside by Hilton. Thus, this was evidence of playing loud and disturbing
music, and Hilton witnessed this.
Spears argued in court that the continuous nuisance or disturbances caused by Richie
compelled her to be taking trips for her peace of mind. She claimed that in 2004, she took 4 to 5
trips to evade the nuisance at home to find peace of mind somewhere else. In 2005, she took
double the trips she had taken in the previous year. She argued that by taking these trips, she
utilized her vacation time which her employer would have paid. Therefore, the defendants were
liable to pay for this loss.
In his defense, Hilton told the court that Spears never called him or informed him in any
way that she had any complaints against her neighbor Richie. She attested to the court that she
had not spoken with Spears on any issue apart from the occasional greetings. He told the court
that he first know about the disturbances caused by Richie when he received a letter from
Montreal. However, he had heard from Richie who claimed that Spears was annoying and very
trivial. He also stated to the court that he asked the prior tenant in Richie’s unit to leave because
of the continuous complain from Spears about her dog, the trash and the doorsteps and the noise
from the unit.
Upon examination of the material facts of this case, the court sort to redefine the real
meaning of private nuisance. Like in many cases discussed, the court restated that for a private
nuisance claim to hold water, the plaintiff should prove that the nuisance caused injury to her
legal right. By examining the testimony of the Hilton, the court established that Spears failed to
establish that the defendant Nadine Hilton was liable for the nuisance caused by her tenant.
Beckman v. Marshall. 85 So. 2d 552 (1956). Retrieved from
Corbett v. Eastern Air Lines, Inc., 166 So. 2d 196 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1964). Retrieved from
Davis v. Levin, 138 So. 2d 351 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1962). District Court of Appeal of Florida.
Retrieved from

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