Prah and Maretti are neighbours and Prah uses solar panels to heat his home. The respondant has proposed to construct a residence on his property that meets all necessary standards and regulations, however it will block the sunlight from reaching Prah's solar panels. Prah sought an injunction but was unsuccessful in the lower courts, which he appealed.
- Does a person still have no right to the air and sunlight if they are using them for more than aesthetic purposes?
Appeal allowed, injunction granted.
The court finds that there is a nuisance, even though it was stated as a universal rule in Fontainebleau Hotel Corporation v Forty-Five Twenty Five, Inc. that there is no legal right to air and sunlight. The court holds that the original decision in Fontainebleau was made on three principles:
- the right of the landowners to use their property as they wish as long as they do not harm their neighbours,
- sunlight was valueable only for aesthetic purposes,
- society had a significant interest in not restricting land development.
The court states that these are no longer totally applicable as times have changed, and all three issues had developed away from these principles. Particularly, in the present case the sunlight is not merely being used for aesthetic purposes but as a power source, which is in the interest of society at large.
The principle in Fontainebleau is not universally applicable; it must be considered relevant to the specifics of the case.