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Burke v. Smith

69 Mich. 380 (1888)

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Burke v. Smith

Michigan Supreme Court

69 Mich. 380 (1888)

Facts

Burke (plaintiff) and Smith (defendant) owned two adjoining lots in Kalamazoo. Burke built two rental houses on his lot that were situated within two feet of the shared property line. After a dispute, Smith built two screens on his side of the property line across from the lower windows of Burke’s houses. The screens were constructed of posts and solid boards, were approximately 11 feet high, and obscured the light, views, and air from the windows, although the screens were open below the level at which the windows started. Burke filed suit against Smith, alleging that the screens were erected for malicious motives and were an intolerable nuisance. Burke alleged that the screens directly injured the rental value of his property, in addition to blocking his light, air, and views. Burke asked for a perpetual injunction to force Smith to remove the screens. Smith in turn alleged that the screens were entirely on his own property and claimed that although he was motivated by privacy concerns, not malice, his motive in erecting the fence was immaterial. The lower court granted Burke’s request for an injunction, and Smith appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Morse, J.)

Dissent (Champlin, J.)

Dissent (Campbell, J.)

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