Boomer v. Atlantic Cement

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Boomer v. Atlantic Cement
Court New York Court of Appeals
Citation 26 N.Y.2d 219, 309 N.Y.S.2d 312, 257 N.E.2d 870
Date decided March 4, 1970

Facts

  • Atlantic Cement Co. = "Atlantic" = a company that operated a plant near Albany, New York
  • Atlantic employed over 300 people & invested over $45,000,000 in the aforesaid plant
  • Atlantic plant emitted large plumes of smoke & dust
  • Mr. Boomer = "Boomer" = a neighbor of the Atlantic plant and other residents = plaintiffs

Procedural History

  • Boomer sued Atlantic for nuisance in New York state court.
  • The trial court found that the nuisance of the Atlantic plant was a material issue; however, the court decided to weigh in the economic impact of Atlantic job losses.
  • Boomer lost in the trial court.
  • The trial court ruled that the economic harm outweighed the nuisance. At the same time, the trial court awarded damages to Boomer.
  • The reviewing court affirmed the loss of Boomer.

Issues

What is the appropriate remedy for an on-going nuisance if an injunction to stop the nuisance would cause more economic harm than the nuisance itself?

Holding

The appropriate remedy is an injunction that would be lifted upon the payment of permanent damages.

It is best to keep the Atlantic plant open while compensating the property owners with damages (monetary awards) for the harm they sustained. Therefore, Atlantic must pay "permanent damages" in order to keep its plant open.

Reasons

The judges reasoned that it was impossible to produce cement without pollution.

Rule

Equitable economic balancing

Comments

On remand, all but 1 property owner settled for damages with Atlantic. That owner was ordered to accept $175,000 in damages.

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