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Fontainebleau Hotel Corp. v. Forty-Five Twenty-Five, Inc. Case Brief

Summary of Fontainebleau Hotel Corp. v. Forty-Five Twenty-Five, Inc., Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1959

Facts: P and D both own neighboring luxury hotels.  D was constructing a new tower 14 floor building which according to P would block sunlight to its pool property.  P argues that such tower would cast such a tower over its property that it will interfere with air and light.  Furthermore, P argues that the constructing will interfere with its easement over air and light and also P claims that the new constructing was taken due to the ill differences between P’s President and D’s President.

Procedure: Temporary injunction was issued enjoining D from continuing its construction.

Issue: Did D have the right to build the tower that would interfere with air and light reaching P’s property?

Holding: Yes

Rationale: According to the court, the doctrine of sic utere tuo ut alienum non laedas does not mean that one can never use his property in a way that would hurt his neighbor.  It only means that one must use his property so as not to injure the lawful right of another.  Furthermore, no case law or statutes indicate that there is la legal right o free flow of light and air.  According to the ct.:  “There being, then, no legal right to the free flow of light and air from the adjoining land, it is universally held that where a structure serves a useful and beneficial purpose, it does not give rise to a cause of action, either for damages or for an injunction under the maxim sic utere tuo, even though it causes injury to another by cutting off the light and air and interfering with the view that would otherwise be available over adjoining land in its natural state, regardless of the fact that the structure may have been erected partly for spite.”  Furthermore, the ct. considered such regulation to fall under the maxim of legislative power and not the judicial power.  Reversed.



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