The Fourth Department, reversing Supreme Court, determined plaintiff’s motion for a preliminary injunction in this dispute between neighbors should have been granted. Plaintiff alleged the neighbor repeatedly damaged and defaced plaintiff’s property and installed a surveillance camera aimed at plaintiff’s property. The Fourth Department went through the elements required for issuance of a preliminary injunction and described the proof offered in support of the trespass, private nuisance and Civil Rights Law causes of action:
Plaintiff’s supplemental affidavit and photographs submitted in support of the motion demonstrate that Nichols repeatedly drove across her lawn and blew snow with his snowblower onto the side of plaintiff’s house, allegedly causing damage to her awning and fence. Both events were intentional invasions of plaintiff’s interest in the exclusive possession of her land. Furthermore, although “an action for trespass over the lands of one property owner may not be maintained where the purported trespasser has acquired an easement of way over the land in question” … , plaintiff established that the acts allegedly committed by Nichols on the easement exceeded the scope of the easement and did not constitute a reasonable use of his interest in the easement … . Thus, plaintiff demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits of her trespass claim. …
The evidence submitted by plaintiff established that Nichols drove across plaintiff’s lawn, used a snowblower to blow snow onto her house, tampered with and removed her property markers, parked his vehicle so as to obstruct plaintiff’s driveway, drove on the freshly paved driveway and left tire tracks in the asphalt, and repeatedly painted a white line across the driveway. That conduct exceeds the scope of the easement and may fairly be characterized as a substantial interference with plaintiff’s use and enjoyment of her property. Thus, plaintiff demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits of her private nuisance claim.
Plaintiff’s affidavit and video evidence also submitted on the motion demonstrate that Nichols threatened to install a “150-foot night vision camera” in his backyard and to point it directly into plaintiff’s backyard and at her living room. As Nichols installed the surveillance camera, he stated to plaintiff, “It’s gonna look right in your fucking living room! . . . You’re on camera bitch! . . . Smile for the camera bitch!” Thus, plaintiff also demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits of her claim under Civil Rights Law § 52-a. Cangemi v Yeager, 2020 NY Slip Op 04023, Fourth Dept 7-17-20