Pl - Del E. Webb
Df - Spur Industries
Area in Question
14 to 15 miles west of Phoenix, Az.
Defendant owned cattle feedlots prior to the construction of
plaintiff's nearby residential development.
Plaintiff sued defendant, claiming that the feedlots were a
public nuisance because of the flies and odor that drifted
toward the development.
Judgment permanently enjoining [prohibiting] the Df - Spur, from
operating a cattle feedlot near the Pl - Webb.
1911 - Spur family started farming started.
1929 Carl Pleasant Damn made water available to property web
of the agua Fria River.
1954 Youngtown Retirement Community Started.
1956 Spurs developed feedlots. There were 25 other cattle
feeding pens within 7 miles.
1959 Webb began Sun City Development. He bought 20,000 for
$750 per acre ($15 million).
1959 Webb started golf course.
1960 Spur purchased land in question, for rebuilding and
1960 Webb started offering homes 2.5 miles north of Spur.
1963 Feedlot odors became a problem and parcels became
impossible to sell.
Deposition statement indicated that they were going to continue
to develop south until they could not SALE any further.
Webb continued to develop south toward the feedlot getting
within 500 feet.
because of the flies and the odor which were drifting or being
blown by the prevailing south to north wind over the southern
portion of Sun City.
Alleging 1300 lots in the southwest portion were unfit for
development, because of Spurs feedlot.
Spur was feeding between 20K and 30K head of cattle.
Each cow produced 35 to 40 pounds of manure.
Resulting in 30,000 pounds of manure a day.
million pounds of manure/day
Trial Court (Shut Down Feed Lot)
Feed pens had become a nuisance to the people who resided in the
south part of Webbs development.
Some citizens of Sun City were unable to enjoy the outdoor
living which Webb had adversities.
Webb faced sales resistance.
Spur shutdown operation and appealed.
May Spur Be enjoined - Analysis
Private vs Public Nuisance
Generally one degree.
private nuisance is one affecting a single individual or a
definite small number of persons in the enjoyment of private
rights not common to the public,
Public Nuisance (entire
community or neighborhood)
Public nuisance is one affecting the rights enjoyed by citizens
as a part of the public.
To constitute a public nuisance, the nuisance must affect a
considerable number of people or an entire community or
Where the injury is slight,
the remedy for minor inconveniences lies in an action for
than in one for an injunction.
Most residents in Youngstown would be entitled to damages rather
than injunctive relief.
No difficulty in agreeing with Trial courts decision to enjoin.
Public Nuisance Statute 36-601
The following conditions are specifically declared public
nuisances dangerous to the public health:
Any condition or place in populous areas
which constitutes a breeding place for
flies, rodents, mosquitoes and other insects which
are capable of carrying and transmitting disease-causing
organisms to any person or persons.
Declaring a business a public nuisance
There must be a "populous" area
in which people are injured.
locality and surroundings are of the first importance.
business which is not per se a public nuisance may become such
by being carried on at a place where the health, comfort, or
convenience of a populous neighborhood is affected.
- Holding May Spur be enjoined?
Spurs operation was an enjoinable
public nuisance for the southern portion of Webbs
It is clear that Spurs feedlot was
both a public and private nuisance to the citizens of
Must Webb Indemnify Spur - Analysis
Public Interest Concerns
Courts of equity may both give and withhold relief in
furtherance of the public interest when only private interests
The granting or withholding of relief may properly be dependent
upon considerations of public interest
Lawful Owner Concerns
Courts of equity are concerned with protecting the operator
of a lawfully, albeit noxious, business from the
result of a knowing and willful
encroachment by others near his business.
Coming to the Nuisance Cases
The courts have held that the residential landowner may not have
relief if he knowingly came into a neighborhood reserved for
industrial or agricultural endeavors and has been damaged
In such an area plaintiffs cannot complain that legitimate
agricultural pursuits are being carried on in the vicinity, nor
can plaintiffs, having chosen to build in an agricultural area,
complain that the agricultural pursuits carried on in the area
depreciate the value of their homes.
With all the advantages of decreased congestion of traffic,
smoke, noise, foul air and other annoyances of city life, they
must be prepared to take the disadvantages.
Reasons To Live In The Suburbs
Taxes, 2. Utilities and 3. Get Away from Congestion.
Feedlot Arg Webbs development is barred by the coming to the
Webb Development Arg Spurs LOCATED its feedlot near the
outskirts of the city.
party cannot justly call upon the law to make that place
suitable for his residence which was not so when he selected it.
There are no rigid rules
for the law of nuisance. It is elastic.
Reasoning (Not Spurs fault, be he must move the feedlot)
Spur is required to move not because he did anything wrong, but
because of a proper and legitimate regard of the courts for the
rights and interests of the
- Not harsh to indemnify developer
It does not seem harsh to require a developer, who has taken
advantage of the lesser land values in a rural area as well as
the availability of large tracts of land on which to build and
develop a new town or city in the area, to
indemnify those who are forced
to leave as a result.
We must indemnify Spur for a reasonable amount of the
cost of moving or shutting down.
It should be noted that this relief to Spur is limited to a case
wherein a developer has, with foreseeability, brought into a
previously agricultural or industrial area that population which
makes necessary the granting of an injunction against a lawful
business and for which the business has not adequate relief.
to the trial court for a hearing upon the damages sustained by
the defendant Spur as a reasonable and direct result of the
granting of the permanent injunction.
in part, reversed in part, and remanded for further proceedings
consistent with this opinion.