Case Brief Wiki
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Facts[]

Cohoes was blasting a section of the Erie Canal and as a result threw up dirt and stones on Hay's land causing damage. Hay brought an action for damages.

Issue[]

  1. Is blasting a reasonable use of land by the defendants?
  2. Is it better for one party to surrender a particular use of his land, or for the other party to give up the beneficial use of his property altogether?

Decision[]

Finding for the plaintiff, damages awarded.

Reasons[]

The court found no negligence, but held that this was not where the cause of action lay. The court found that the defendants have the right to dig, and also that the plaintiffs have the right to the undisturbed use of their property. In a conflict the former must yield to the latter which is the more important right. As a public policy, he states that it is better that one man surrender only a particular use of his land rather than have the other party sacrifice the entire beneficial use of his.

Ratio[]

It is better that one man surrender only a particular use of his land rather than have the other party sacrifice the entire beneficial use of his.

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