Armstrong v. Francis Corp., 120 A.2d 4 (N.J. 1956)

Case Name: Armstrong v. Francis Corp.
Plaintiff: Armstrongs and Klemps
Defendant: Francis Corp. (Homebuilder)
Citation: 120 A.2d 4 (N.J. 1956)

Key Facts: The defendant, Francis Corp., built 186 small homes and 14 houses on a tract of land. Francis Corp. constructed the drainage system which emptied into an iron pipe which was below the level of the natural stream bed. The natural drainage of the plaintiffs’ property was affected by this and ruined their percolating stream. The water became discolored, evil smelling, and no longer had any fish in it. The stream built up silt and muck and started to erode the banks of the plaintiffs land.

Procedural History: The lower court stated that the plaintiffs were entitled to relief and that the only sensible and permanent solution is to pipe the rest of the brook at the defendant’s expense.

Issue: Whether the damage suffered by the plaintiffs is privileged and incidental by the improvement of the defendant’s land and thereby the plaintiffs are not entitled to relief.

Rule: Whether the harm caused by the defendant’s improvement is reasonable can be determined by consideration all of the relevant circumstances such as the amount of harm caused, the foreseeability of the harm, the purpose or motive of the defendant.

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