Harrisonville v. W.S. Dickey Clay Mfg. Co.
289 U.S. 334 (1933)

Annotate this Case

U.S. Supreme Court

Harrisonville v. W.S. Dickey Clay Mfg. Co., 289 U.S. 334 (1933)

Harrisonville v. W.S. Dickey Clay Manufacturing Co.

No. 559

Argued March 20, 1933

Decided May 8, 1933

289 U.S. 334

Syllabus

1. Although the nuisance be clear, relief by injunction against continuous or recurrent pollution of a stream may be denied where substantial redress can be afforded the injured landowner by payment of money and where an injunction would subject the defendant to grossly disproportionate hardship. Pp. 289 U. S. 337-338.

2. If an important public interest would be prejudiced by the injunction, the reasons for denying it may be compelling. P. 289 U. S. 338.

3. In this case, an injunction would compel a city either to abandon its sewage disposal plant, constructed at large cost, and revert

Page 289 U. S. 335

to primitive methods, or to erect an expensive auxiliary plant, which it feels unable to do; while, on the other hand, the damage to the plaintiff's farm from the stream pollution complained of is relatively small, and measurable in money.

Held:

(1) That an injunction should be denied, conditional however upon prompt payment of an amount equal to the depreciation in the value of the farm on account of the nuisance. P. 289 U. S. 339.

(2) This payment is required not upon the ground that the nuisance is permanent, but upon the ground that to oblige the landowner to bring repeated actions at law for loss of rental would be so onerous as to deny adequate relief. P. 289 U. S. 339.

4. Possession by a city of the right to condemn land that is subjected to effluent from its sewerage system favors, rather than opposes, resort to money compensation instead of an injunction, for relief of the injured landowner. P. 289 U. S. 340.

5. Where a nuisance resulting from pollution of a creek by effluent from a city sewage disposal plant could at any time have been removed by the city by providing auxiliary sewage treatment, the nuisance cannot be deemed permanent as of the date of the installation of the disposal plant, and the statute of limitations on a suit for abatement did not run from that date. P. 289 U. S. 341.

61 F.2d 210 reversed.

Certiorari, 288 U.S. 594, to review the affirmance (in part) of a decree for damages and injunction in a nuisance case.

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