People generally have the right to enjoy their private property and public spaces as they wish. There are limitations to the general rule, however. Specifically, people cannot engage in activity in a public or private place that interferes with another person’s rights or interests, and if they do, it may constitute a nuisance. If you are dealing with a private nuisance affecting your home or a public nuisance impacting your community, it is crucial to understand your rights and legal remedies, and you should speak to an attorney as soon as possible. The experienced Honolulu nuisance attorneys of Bickerton Law Group LLLP understand the detrimental impact nuisances can have on your life and your property, and if you engage our services, we can advise you of your options for addressing the problematic situation.Hawaii Law Regarding Private Nuisance
A nuisance, in legal terms, is broadly defined as anything that unlawfully annoys a person, disturbs their free possession, use, or enjoyment of their property or exercise of legal rights, or causes them to suffer damages. Hawaii recognizes two primary categories of nuisance: private and public. In some instances, a nuisance may be both private and public. In other words, they exist in a public place but cause special harm to private individuals; they are typically referred to as mixed nuisances.
Private nuisance occurs when an individual's use or enjoyment of their property is unreasonably and substantially interfered with by another person's actions. It typically affects a specific individual or a limited number of individuals rather than the general public. Examples of private nuisance include excessive noise, offensive odors, vibrations, or encroachments from neighboring properties. Non-toxic plants that overhang onto a property ordinarily do not constitute private nuisances, but they may be if they cause harm to property other than plant life or create an imminent risk of such harm. The courts may order both injunctive relief and impose damages on the party responsible for a private nuisance.Hawaii Law Regarding Public Nuisance
In contrast to a private nuisance, a public nuisance arises when an act or series of acts causes common harm, subverts public decency, morals, or order, impairs the rights of citizens, or obstructs public rights. Public rights are collective in nature and refer to all those rights that are common to all members of the general public. In sum, actions or conditions that pose a threat to public health, safety, or welfare may be deemed public nuisances.
To determine whether a condition or behavior constitutes a public nuisance, the courts will evaluate the surroundings and location where the nuisance allegedly persists. In other words, in order to be considered a public nuisance under Hawaii law, the nuisance must exist in a place that is public or where the public frequently gathers or is likely to come within close proximity to its influence.
Activities that may constitute public nuisances include failing to clear debris or seaweed from a public beach, polluting a public water source, obstructing public rights-of-way, and creating hazardous conditions that jeopardize the health of people in a community. Public nuisance claims are often brought by government entities or public agencies seeking to protect the interests of the public.
Generally, the courts will award declaratory and injunctive relief in public nuisance claims rather than damages. Damages may be recoverable, however, if the plaintiff can establish that they suffered an injury different than that of the public.Speak to an Experienced Honolulu Nuisance Attorney
Nuisances can be highly disruptive, causing inconvenience, discomfort, and in some instances, financial harm. People impacted by nuisances do not have to suffer silently or bear the burden of someone else's unreasonable actions, though, and it is wise for anyone contending with a nuisance to seek advice from an experienced lawyer. At the Bickerton Law Group LLLP, our experienced Honolulu nuisance attorneys are proficient at navigating the complexities of Hawaii’s nuisance laws, and we can guide you through the process of seeking a just and efficient resolution. We have an office in Honolulu, and we frequently represent people in private and public nuisance claims in Honolulu and cities throughout Honolulu, Maui, Kauai, and Hawaii Counties. You can contact us through our online form or by calling us at (808) 599-3811 to set up a confidential meeting.