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Hendricks v. Stalnaker

(1989)

Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia - 181 W. Va. 31, 380 S.E.2d 198

tl;dr:

A private nuisance is a substantial and unreasonable interference with another's private use/enjoyment of his own property.

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Facts & HoldingHendricks v. Stalnaker case brief facts & holding

Facts:Hendricks lived next to Stalnaker. Hendricks was seeking a permit...

Holding:Stalnaker's installation of a water well did not constitute a...

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Hendricks v. Stalnaker | Case Brief DeepDive
Majority opinion, author: NEELY, Justice:
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The case involves a dispute between Walter S. Stalnaker and Henry L. Hendricks and Mary Hendricks over the use of land and the effects on neighboring properties. The Hendrickses installed a septic system without a permit despite being informed that it could not be permitted due to its proximity to Mr. Stalnaker's water well. The Hendrickses filed a lawsuit requesting that the water well be declared a private nuisance, abated, and damages awarded. The jury found the water well to be a private nuisance, and the trial judge ordered it to be abated. However, the majority opinion agreed with Mr. Stalnaker and reversed the decision of the circuit court, stating that his well was not an unreasonable use of his land. The case has been cited in several other cases, including Mahoney v. Walter, Sharon Steel Corp. v. City of Fairmont, and Sticklen v. Kittle, which define nuisance as anything that interferes with a citizen's rights, either in person, property, the enjoyment of their property, or their comfort, and materially lessens the enjoyment of property and materially interferes with the physical comfort of persons in their homes. It is worth noting that the lower court erred in declaring the water well a private nuisance.

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