Chicken Manure is Dumped on Property Right Before Wedding Ceremony
Gerald Zarella’s neighbor in Exeter, Rhode Island, dumped a pile of chicken manure close to their shared property line at the worst possible time – the day before a wedding was scheduled to take place on the property. Zarella, the owner of Gerald’s Farm, claimed his neighbor did so out of spite for turning his property into a commercial destination for rustic weddings. Not all of his neighbors were pleased with the decision.
“If there was a pair of boxing gloves here and he was willing, let’s go. That’s how furious I am. That is ripe, raw, chicken waste,” said Zarrella after discovering the unwelcomed gift, adding, “These people have a right to have a beautiful wedding. It’s going to happen but it’s not nice what he has done.”
As he promised, the 200-person wedding was held as scheduled with the smell radiating from the area where the guests had to eat. Other neighbors even further away said the smell was troublesome. “The way the wind travels it permeates all the way through there. You can feel it burning in the nostrils,” said one nearby property owner, Steve Sheally.
Zarrella is currently in the middle of a legal battle with the town of Exeter regarding whether or not he should be allowed to host commercial events on his property. Court documents suggest the business owner has been cleared to host two additional weddings in September while the legal process is laid out.
Zarella sought legal action against the individual responsible for the manure being dumped. The dumped manure did not violate Rhode Island criminal or environmental laws but constituted as a civil violation. The case was ultimately settled for undisclosed terms.
To seek relief from the law of nuisance, one must prove the offending action has resulted in a loss of use or loss of enjoyment of the property upon which it occurred, and sometimes, the problem also affects the health, safety, and welfare of the general public. The interference of enjoyment must be substantial and be long-lasting.
There are two basic types of nuisance suits – private and public cases. A private nuisance means there has been a loss of the use or enjoyment of property without an actual physical invasion. A physical invasion of property is known as a trespass action. Public nuisance has more far-reaching effects because the action affects the welfare of more people.
In general, it is recommended that anyone looking to file a nuisance case first do their due diligence in trying to resolve the issue outside of court. The first step would be to talk with the offending party to let them know the act is not acceptable and see if it can be remedied. If it continues to happen, the individual looking to present a case should document the occurrence(s). Again, this person must prove the issue is, in fact, a nuisance and the negative effects are long-lasting. Law enforcement should be called if the issue cannot be resolved between the parties. In some cases, a mediator is asked to step in. As a final measure, a court case can be filed.