Friday, 17 October 2008

Fontainebleu Hotel Corp. v. 45 25 (spelled out), Inc.

Judges are hilarious:
In this case Eden Roc hotel in Miami sued Fontainebleu hotel for building additional floors which (supposedly) blocked air and light from its beach, thereby cannibalizing business (in malice). The ensuing decision, which overruled a temporary injunction on further construction is one of the funniest I've ever read. Among the materials presented included...wait for it..."studies on the simple mathematics of the sun."
Enjoy this excerpt:

We see no reason for departing from this universal rule. If, as contended on behalf of plaintiff, public policy demands that a landowner in the Miami Beach area refrain from constructing buildings on his premises that will cast a shadow on the adjoining premises, an amendment of its comprehensive planning and zoning ordinance, applicable to [**7] the public as a whole, is the means by which such purpose should be achieved. (No opinion is expressed here as to the validity of such an ordinance, if one should be enacted pursuant to the requirements of law. Cf. City of Miami Beach v. State ex rel. Fontainebleau Hotel Corp., Fla.App.1959, 108 So.2d 614, 619; certiorari denied, Fla.1959, 111 So.2d 437.) But to change the universal rule - and the custom followed in this state since its inception - that adjoining landowners have an equal right under the law to build to the line of their respective tracts and to such a height as is desired by them (in in absence, of course, of building restrictions or regulations) amounts, in our opinion, to judicial legislation. As stated in Musumeci v. Leonardo, supra [77 R.I. 255, 75 A.2d 177], "So use your own as not to injure another's property is, indeed, a sound and salutary principle for the promotion of justice, but it may not and should not be applied so as gratuitously to confer upon an adjacent property owner incorporeal rights incidental to his ownership of land which the law does not sanction."