What are my rights if my neighbor’s oil tank has leaked onto my property?

UPDATED: Mar 5, 2012

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What are my rights if my neighbor’s oil tank has leaked onto my property?

Their insurance company and their lawyers want me to pull my decommissioned oil tank from underground to make sure that was not leakingand contributed to the the oil on my property. Do I need pull it? Itwas decommissioned 5 years ago.

Asked on March 5, 2012 under Real Estate Law, New York


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You could sue your neighbor for nuisance.  Nuisance is a serious and unreasonable interference with your use and enjoyment of your property.  If the oil is coming from your neighbor and not your decommissioned oil tank then you should not incur the expense and burden of pulling that tank out.

Damages (monetary compensation) would be an inadequate remedy in your lawsuit for nuisance against your neighbor because of multiplicity of lawsuits since the leak is an ongoing problem.  Damages would also be an inadequate remedy because land is unique.  Your remedy would be an injunction to stop your neighbor's oil leak from polluting your property.  The court will weigh the benefits and burdens in determining whether or not to issue an injunction.  The benefit to you would be stopping your neighhbor's oil leak and the pollution of your property.  The court will weigh this against the burden (cost) to your neighbor of stopping his oil leak.  The court may grant a temporary restraining order until there is a preliminary hearing at which time a preliminary injunction can be issued which would be in effect until trial to determine whether or not a permanent injunction is granted.


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