When must a neighbor sue for nuisance and trespass or else be barred by limitations? It’s a tricky question. In Town of Dish et al v. Atmos Energy et al, the Texas Supreme Court concluded that the claims were time-barred. The limitations train had left the station.
Here are factors considered by the court that govern when these cases must be brought:
- Limitations runs two years from the time the claim accrues.
- When a claim accrues (and the limitations clock begins to tick) is a question of law for Her Honor, not the jury.
- Trespass and nuisance claims accrue once a “known injury begins.”
- Normally, such claims don’t accrue when the source is under construction. However, once operations begin and interference occurs, the clock starts.
- Once a claimant learns of a wrongful injury, limitations begins to run even if the claimant doesn’t yet know the specific cause of the injury, the party responsible, the extent, or the chances of avoiding it.
- A claimant’s subjective belief as to the accrual date doesn’t matter. A nuisance is a condition causing unreasonable annoyance to persons of ordinary sensibilities. Its an objective test.