Townhome Residents in D.C. Get Court Order Preventing Neighbor from Smoking in his Home
One resident in a D.C. townhome obtained a court order (temporary restraining order) preventing the neighbor from smoking in the neighboring townhome. Smoke from tobacco, cigarettes, or marijuana is clearly a nuisance under the law in most states, including Utah. The Court in this case found that the smoke was making its way into the neighboring home, where a couple lived with one child and another on the way. The couple also sued for $500,000 in damages. Apparently the couple had tried to work it out informally and had tried mediation, but he smoking neighbor refused to take action to minimize the transmission of smoke.
Unfortunately, smokers frequently take a hard line position about smoking in their homes, assuming that they don't have to worry about where the smoke from their cigarettes or tabacco products actual drifts to. That, of course, is not the law in Utah and most other states. Utah has a very strong nuisance statute and tobacco smoke is clearly a nuisance, in any amount. It also doesn't matter how the smoke gets in, as long as it does.
Morris Sperry has dealt with complicated nuisance and HOA smoking cases representing parties on both sides, the HOA and the owner. They are difficult cases because most people are not excited about quitting smoking or moving out of their homes.