By a MetNews Staff Writer
A man who operated a car-repair business at his residence was in violation of a Los Angeles County ordinance but that, standing alone, did not vest in a neighbor a cause of action for a private nuisance, the Court of Appeal for this district held yesterday, reversing a permanent injunction against continuing the commercial endeavor.
The unpublished opinion, by Justice Anne H. Egerton of Div. Three, reverses a judgment by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Ernest M. Hiroshige.
The judge ordered Armando Osorio to cease repairing vehicles at his residence after a jury found that the defendant was in violation of an ordinance, but that the nuisance was not a “substantial factor in causing harm” to plaintiff Juana Hernandez,” and that no damages were awardable.
Egerton said that the ordinance “declares a home-based auto repair business to be a public nuisance; it does not declare it to be a private nuisance,” concluding:
“As a result, Hernandez could not prevail on her private nuisance claim simply by showing Osorio operated an auto repair business in violation of the [County Code]. Instead, she had to prove all the elements of a private nuisance: a substantial and unreasonable interference with her use and enjoyment of property….
“Because the trial court accepted Hernandez’s flawed theory, it did not instruct the jury on all the elements of a private nuisance.
“Nonetheless, it is clear from the jury’s special verdict that it would not have found a private nuisance, even if the court had given the proper instructions.”
Inasmuch as Hernandez did not establish a private nuisance, Egerton said, Hiroshige “erred by entering judgment in her favor and issuing an injunction enjoining Osorio’s business.”
The case is Hernandez v. Osorio, B304301.
Whittier attorney Javier Garibay represented Osorio and Marina Del Rey practitioner Ernest J. Franceschi Jr. argued for Hernandez.
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