SW Legal Educational Publishing

Computer Flickers Caused by Electromagentic Fields Not Nuisance
Description Building owner sued electric company for disruptions caused to computer screens in a building next to electric transmission lines. Appeals court upheld dismissal of case, finding that the power company had an easement and that its use of the transmission lines was within normal industry practice.
Topic Real and Personal Property
Key Words Nuisance; Easement; Electromagnetic Fields
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts The owner of an office building next to electric power lines sued Boston Edison for nuisance, contending that magnetic fields generated by the power lines caused disruptions on computer screens in the building. Trial court dismissed the suit; building owner appealed.
Decision Affirmed. Edison, by eminent domain, took a 100-foot wide easement for construction and operation of the electric lines years ago. However, "a nuisance may result from an overly intensive use or an overburdening of an easement." Edison showed that its use of the transmission lines was within normal industry standards, so its use is reasonable as a matter of law. Hence, there is no nuisance.
Citation Westchester Associates v. Boston Edison, 712 N.E.2d 1145 (Ct. App., Mass., 1999)

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