Tort Law

Retiree can pursue nuisance suit for farmer's loud music concerts, Tennessee Supreme Court rules

Music festivals found to be part of a farmer’s “right clever marketing operation” aren’t protected from nuisance suits under Tennessee’s right-to-farm law, the state supreme court has ruled.

Tennessee law protects farmers from nuisance suits for growing or raising farm products, but not for marketing intended to further the income of the farming operation, the Tennessee Supreme Court said. The Knoxville News Sentinel has a story on the opinion issued last week.

The Blount County farmer, Robert Schmidt, had hosted concerts and other attractions such as a strawberry-picking festival to increase revenues. A resident of a neighboring subdivision, retiree Velda Shore, claimed the amplified music was a nuisance. A trial court dismissed her suit, finding the music to be part of a “right clever marketing operation.”

The supreme court opinion resurrects Shore’s suit. “In our view, Ms. Shore presented prima facie evidence of nuisance,” the court said. “Ms. Shore was forced out of her home during daytime concerts, and she was a hostage to the noise at night.”

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