The Illinois Supreme Court on Thursday issued opinions in 11 cases, including one that deals with a dispute over flies from a farm.
None of the opinions handed down came from cases in the Fifth District and the majority of the matters that received rulings Thursday were criminal in nature.
The dispute over flies came to the state high court on appeal from the Second District.
In 2007, Roger and Bobbie Toftoy brought a lawsuit against Ken Rosenwinkel and the Rosenwinkel Family Partnership LLC.
The Toftoys claimed that the defendants’ cattle farm attracted a large number of flies that interfered with the use and enjoyment of their property, which was located across the road from 160 acres of farmland that Rosenwinkel bought in 1991.
Roger’s father had given the Toftoys the Kendall County property in 1998. They tore down a farm house and built a home that they moved into in 2004.
The couple’s lawsuit claimed the flies were a nuisance under the state’s Farm Nuisance Suit Act and sought injunctive relief to get rid of the flies.
The defendants, however, argued that Section 3 of the Act barred the plaintiffs’ suit.
According to the court’s opinion, this section states that “no farm ‘shall be or become a private or public nuisance because of any changed conditions in the surrounding area” when the farm has been in existence for one year and was not a nuisance at the time it began operations.”
The circuit court rejected the defendants’ argument and after a bench trial, entered judgment in favor of the Toftoys and ordered Rosenwinkel to take measures to reduce the number of flies at his farm.
A split panel of the Second District Appellate Court affirmed, but vacated the circuit court’s remedy, saying it was vague and overly broad.
In a unanimous ruling delivered by Justice Anne Burke, the state high court on Thursday reversed the lower courts and remanded the matter to the circuit court for further proceedings.
Burke explained in court’s seven-page opinion that the Farm Nuisance Suit Act is a “right-to-farm” law that aims to limit nuisance actions in order to preserve farmland use.
“Plaintiffs in this case did not acquire their property rights in their land until 1998, six years after defendants’ cattle farm began operating, and well beyond the one-year limitation contained in section 3,” Burke wrote for the court.
She added, “Plaintiffs came to the nuisance and, under section 3 of the Act, are barred from filing a nuisance suit.”
The full opinion for this case, as well as the 10 others issued Thursday, can be found on the court’s website at state.il.us/court.
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