Comparative Fault Applies in Nuisance Case

The Eastern Section of the Tennessee Court of Appeals has ruled that comparative fault applies to cases tried under a nuisance theory.

According to the opinion, “[t]he Complaint alleged that plaintiffs and defendants own adjoining property and that defendants constructed a private road on their property through an area of natural drainage adjoining the Plaintiffs’ property. Further, that the road “impeded and/or altered the natural flow of rainwater runoff such that the private road acts as a dam.” The road caused damage to Plaintiff’s home and personal property. Plaintiff brought a nuisance action.

The Court said that “a nuisance action based upon a “wrongful” interference with the natural drainage of surface water necessarily involves fault because such an interference is an act violating the plaintiff’s property rights and imposing liability upon the defendant. Because such an action necessarily involves fault, applying principles of comparative fault is in keeping with McIntyre’s principle of linking liability with fault.”

The case is Manis v. Gibson; it was decided March 3, 2006. Read the opinion here.