Central Iron & Coal Co. v. Vanderheurk

Decision Date28 April 1906
Citation147 Ala. 546,41 So. 145
CourtAlabama Supreme Court

Appeal from Chancery Court, Tuscaloosa County; Alfred H. Benners Chancellor.

"To be officially reported."

Suit by J. W. Vanderheurk against the Central Iron & Coal Company. From a decree for complainant, defendant appeals. Affirmed.

Henry A. Jones, for appellant.

Vaughan & Davidson and Smith & Smith, for appellee.


It is an elementary principle in reference to private rights that every individual is entitled to the undisturbed possession and enjoyment of his own property. The mode of enjoyment is necessarily limited by the rights of others; otherwise, it might be made destructive to their rights altogether. In the case of Hay v. Cohoes, 2 N. Y. 159, 51 Am. Dec. 279 where the declaration charged that by the defendant and its agents and servants, while constructing a canal on their own premises, which they had the right and authority to do, large quantities of gravel, slate, and stone were thrown upon plaintiff's lands, the court said: "The use of land by the proprietor is not, therefore, an absolute right, but qualified and limited by the higher rights of others to the lawful possession of their property. To this possession the law prohibits all direct injury, without regard to its extent or the motive of the aggressor. A man may prosecute such business as he chooses upon his premises, but he cannot erect a nuisance to the annoyance of the adjoining proprietor, even for the purpose of a lawful business." Alfred's Case, 9 Coke, 58. "He may excavate a canal, but he cannot cast the dirt and stone upon the lands of his neighbor, either by human agency or the force of gunpowder. If he cannot construct the work without the adoption of such means, he must abandon that mode of using his property, or be held responsible for all damages arising therefrom. He will not be permitted to accomplish a legal object in an unlawful manner." And it would seem that one who makes a blast on his own land, and thereby causes rock to fall upon the lands of another, or upon one on the highway, is liable as a trespasser for injuries inflicted, although the blast is fired for a lawful purpose and without negligence or want of skill. Sullivan, Adm'r, v. Dunham, 161 N.Y. 290, 55 N.E. 923, 47 L. R. A. 715, 76 Am. St. Rep. 274; People's Gas Co. v. Tyner (Ind. Sup.) 31 N.E 59, 16 L. R. A. 443, 31 Am. St. Rep. 433.

It is true that the bill avers that the rocks were thrown on complainant's premises because of the negligent manner of blasting, and the undisputed evidence of respondents is that there was no negligent blasting; yet the bill avers that the rocks were constantly thrown on complainant's premises and this fact was proven by his witnesses, and was contradicted only by circumstances and inferences. The complainant, consequently, made out a case for equitable relief, although he fails to prove that the blasting was negligently done, which was merely cumulative, and the nonexistence of which could not defeat the bill. Noble's Adm'r v. Moses, 81 Ala. 530, 1 So. 217, 60 Am. Rep. 175....

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18 cases
  • Howell v. City of Dothan
    • United States
    • Alabama Supreme Court
    • May 13, 1937
    ... ... Jones, ... 202 Ala. 82, 79 So. 476, L.R.A.1918F, 1020; Central Iron ... & Coal Co. v. Vandenheuk, 147 Ala. 546, 41 So. 145, 6 ... ...
  • Rice v. Davidson
    • United States
    • Alabama Supreme Court
    • June 23, 1921
    ... ... Franklin v ... Long, 191 Ala. 310, 315, 68 So. 149; Consumers' Coal ... & Fuel Co. v. Yarbrough, 194 Ala. 482, 491, ... [89 So. 601] Bond ... Co., 198 ... Ala. 236, 73 So. 486, L.R.A.1917C, 232; South. Iron & Eq ... Co. v. Vaughan, 201 Ala. 356, 78 So. 212, L.R.A.1918E, ... remedy (Central I. & C. Co. v. Vandenheuk, 147 Ala ... 546, 41 So. 145, 6 L.R.A.[ N.S] ... ...
  • Harper v. Regency Development Co., Inc.
    • United States
    • Alabama Supreme Court
    • May 1, 1981
    ...276 Ala. 110, 159 So.2d 621 (1963); Vulcan Materials Co. v. Grace, 274 Ala. 653, 151 So.2d 229 (1963); Central Iron & Coal Co. v. Vandenheuk, 147 Ala. 546, 41 So. 145 (1906).3 See, e. g., Lehigh Portland Cement Co. v. Dobbins, 282 Ala. 513, 213 So.2d 246 (1968); Vulcan Materials Co. v. Grac......
  • Woodstock Operating Corp. v. Quinn
    • United States
    • Alabama Supreme Court
    • June 20, 1918
    ... ... Mobile Co. v. Knapp, 75 So. 881; Cent. Iron & ... Coal Co. v. Vandenheuk, 147 Ala. 546, 41 So. 145, 6 ... L.R.A ... In Central Iron & Coal Co. v. Vandenheuk, 147 Ala ... 546, 41 So. 145, 6 L.R.A ... ...
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