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Friday, September 14, 2012

Illinois Supreme Court to Hear Right to Farm Case

The Illinois Supreme Court will hear argument in Toftoy v. Rosenwinkel, a case involving a nuisance action against an existing cattle farming operation.  Plaintiffs claim that the farming operation across the street from their residential use is a nuisance; defendants argue that the Illinois Farm Nuisance Suit Act bars plaintiffs' suit.   According to Section 3 of the Act, no farm can be, or become, a private or public nuisance “because of any changed conditions in the surrounding area” as long as the farm has been in operation for a year (unless the nuisance results from the negligent or improper operation of the farm).

The trial court ruled for plaintiffs and issued an injunction against the cattle farm operation requiring certain changes to the farm use to mitigate the nuisance.  On appeal, defendants argued that there were “changed conditions” that barred the lawsuit, including that plaintiffs' land was unoccupied when the farm operation began and that plaintiffs' residential use was a change from the original agricultural use and zoning.  Nevertheless, the appellate court affirmed, and defendants appealed to the Illinois Supreme Court.  The Supreme Court granted leave to appeal and scheduled oral argument for September 19, 2012.  We will keep you posted on this case. 

Thanks to The Appellate Strategist and Inverse Condemnation for the heads-up on this case.


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