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Pesticide drift is a nuisance not a trespass

July 7th, 2013 by Joseph William Singer

The Supreme Court of Minnesota held that pesticide drift from one property to another is governed by nuisance law and not trespass law even though it constitutes a physical invasion of particles. Johnson v. Paynesville Farmers Union Cooperative Oil Co., 817 N.W.2d 693 (Minn. 2012). The court held that trespass law protects only the interest in possession while nuisance law protects use and enjoyment, making nuisance the appropriate standard to regulate the problem. Trespass law does not require any proof of harm and the court felt that applying it in this context would require a narrowing principle it was not willing to create.

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