Possession and Nuisance Discussion Questions help

“Possession and Nuisance”

  • Part A: For policy reasons, a private person may, in times of necessity, interfere with another’s right to exclusive possession of real or personal property without permission, such as by docking a boat in a storm. Courts vary with regard to whether or not this “public necessity” constitutes a trespass. But even the trespass defendant will be shielded from nominal and punitive damages. However, he or she may be held liable for compensatory damages, such as to repair a dock.

    Argue whether or not compensatory damages should be paid.

    See both the majority opinion and the dissent in Vincent v. Lake Erie Transportation at 124 N.W. 221 (Minn.1910) 

  • Part B: A church plays its bells over speakers three (3) times a day and four (4) times on Sunday. A woman suffering from migraine headaches sought to enjoin the church from playing its bells because the bells aggravated her headaches, causing anxiety and emotional distress. In this situation, determine if playing the bells interferes with the rights protected by either private nuisance or public nuisance and support your position. See Pestey v. Cushman at 788 A. 2d 496 (Conn. 2002.


  • Part A: You return from work one day to discover that the utility company has removed a large portion of a special shrub in your front yard to access its equipment. Consider the remedies of damages and injunctions and plan a strategy that might result in a remedy satisfactory to both parties.   
  • Part B: The most direct route to a nearby store includes walking across a small portion of your neighbor’s vacant land. Up to now, there has been no problem with using this path until suddenly your neighbor becomes irate at your use of the property. Discuss what, if any, legal defense you might have to charges of trespass, should this ever turn into a lawsuit.

“Privileges to Defamation”

  • Part A: Are opinions a form of defamation? Explain why or why not. See Gifford v. National Enquirer at 23 Media L. Rep. 1016, 1993 WL 767192 (D. Cal. 1993)   
  • Part B: Differentiate between absolute and qualified privileges in defamation actions.  

“Alternatives to Litigation”

  • Explain whether or not an injured worker can receive Worker’s Compensation Benefits regardless of whether or not the injury was the employee’s fault.

    What is the general rule regarding whether or not an injured employee can sue his employer for tort liability? Discuss any exceptions to this rule. See Fryer v. Kranz at 616 N.W. 2d 102 (S.D. 2000).            

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