James E. Melle


The vagueness of the concept of nuisance has resulted from the varying interpretations given it by the courts. It is still debatable whether liability for nuisance exists because of the harm done, or how the harm was created. Though there are many different purpose classifications of nuisances, this paper deals only with the basic ones-i.e., public,private, and public nuisances which are also private nuisances. What can a healthy individual do who does not live in the "neighborhood" of a polluter and yet fears that air pollution has harmful effects on his health? The air transmits the pollution, and it affects all healthy persons alike. But it affects those over 55 and under one year as well as those with existing respiratory diseases more than the healthy individual.Yet this cannot technically be used as special damage since the amount of harm necessary to constitute a nuisance is measured by the standards of comfort entertained by persons of ordinary sensibilities. This leads to the overriding question whether special damage is a necessary element in public nuisance actions by a private individual for air pollution.