The age-old law of public nuisance is being stretched far beyond its traditional boundaries, in an attempt to create “a monster that would devour in one gulp the entire law of tort.” ILR’s latest research picks up the thread from our 2019 paper on public nuisance, and documents how plaintiffs’ lawyers are attempting to twist this ancient cause of action into an all-purpose, potentially limitless civil tort, ostensibly to address wide-ranging societal issues that are more appropriately left to legislators. The paper outlines key aspects of state statutes defining public nuisance, documents how courts have responded to plaintiffs’ bar efforts to expand the cause of action, and offers a range of solutions that policymakers can implement to restore the traditional boundaries of public nuisance and improve certainty and predictability in our civil justice system.


Elbert Lin, Trevor S. Cox, Roger C. Gibboni, and Pierce J. Lamberson, Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP.