From its original function of providing a remedy for the invasion of land rights, the law of nuisance has expanded to encompass a multitude of interferences with the health, safety, and welfare of the public and individuals. Where a nuisance is injurious to the public, the government has a right to sue for its abatement. An individual, however, has traditionally lacked standing to sue for damages or to enjoin a public nuisance where his injury is not distinct in degree and/or in kind from the injury to the public as a whole. While judicial inroads into this restrictive standing requirement have always been possible, courts have consistently been reluctant to relax the standing requisites for individuals attempting to sue on the theory of public nuisance. Only recently have some courts given indications that orthodox common law standing restrictions may slowly be giving way to the public's interest in a healthful environment. This article discusses these new cases and the statutory provisions of several states that have modified the common law rules.
Mark A. Rothstein,
Private Actions for Public Nuisance: The Standing Problem,
W. Va. L. Rev.
Available at: https://researchrepository.wvu.edu/wvlr/vol76/iss4/4