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N.O.C., Inc. v. Schaefer

ELR Citation: 15 ELR 20417
Nos. No. L-14658-82, 484 A.2d 729/197 N.J. Super. 249, (N.J. Super., 05/14/1984)

The court holds that a citizen who kept a fuel and waste oil facility with an alleged history of zoning and pollution law violations under surveillance from her neighboring property is not liable for invasion of privacy. First, the corporate entity cannot maintain an action for invasion of privacy, since it is not capable of emotional suffering. With regard to the individual claim by the company president, Grungo, cases from other jurisdictions establish a balancing test that weighs social need against the individual's right to privacy. Here, the intrusions into Grungo's privacy were not severe and were clearly overweighed by defendant's concerns about oil seepage onto her property, hazardous waste law violations, and zoning violations. This conclusion is further supported by the common-law rule that a property owner has a right to build structures overlooking adjoining property, and such construction and the use of it gives rise to no action for privacy invasion in the adjoining property owner.

Counsel for Plaintiff
John B. Prior Jr.
Greenburg, Kelley & Prior
196 West State St., Trenton NJ 08608
(609) 989-9800

Counsel for Defendant
Thomas Norman
Norman & Kingsbury
A-2 Jackson Commons
30 Jackson Rd., Medford NJ 08055
(609) 654-5220