Litigation based on this tort has grown exponentially – and needs to be governed by clear and reasonable standards.
Before the industrial revolution, the tort of public nuisance was easily understood and reasonably applied. Over the past few decades, new technologies and manufacturing processes evolved. The new processes entailed new techniques, substances, waste disposal methods and habits. Public nuisance litigation adapted to deal with these issues and ultimately evolved to encompass the new problems. Plantiffs’ counsel are now using the tort far beyond its traditional limits and expectations – often involving large cities, regions, coastal areas and water supplies.