Real Estate & Property Law

Judge says man can't smoke in his own home due to neighbor's 2nd-hand smoke concerns

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The Washington, D.C., home in which Edwin Gray lives has been owned by his family for 50 years.

But that doesn’t mean he can smoke there. Responding to a lawsuit by a new neighbor concerned about second-hand smoke, a D.C. Superior Court judge has issued a temporary order requiring Gray, and anyone else who might otherwise smoke at his home, to do so outside, reports WJLA.

“We were floored,” Gray’s sister, Mozella Johnson, told the station, adding: “If this judge has done this, who will be next? What other neighbor will be next?”

The plaintiffs who brought the private nuisance case against Gray are a couple with a young child and a baby on the way. They say they are concerned about the adverse health effects of the smoke that they believe is seeping into their home through holes in the shared basement wall.

A WJLA video linked to an ABC 13 news article shows Gray being interviewed, apparently outside and inside his home, which is a row house sharing party walls on both sides with neighboring properties.

Benny Kass, a real estate columnist for the Washington Post, says the ruling is unusual, but predicts that others elsewhere in the city will now file suit to see if they can obtain similar injunctions.

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