Abstract

THE POWER LINE DILEMMA: COMPENSATION FOR DIMINISHED PROPERTY VALUE CAUSED BY FEAR OF ELECTROMAGNETIC FIELDS

ANDREW J. SCHUTT

Copyright 1996 Andrew J. Schutt

This Comment explores whether individuals should be compensated for the diminution of their land caused by the public's fear of electromagnetic fields (EMF). The majority view holds that these individuals should be compensated, the intermediate view believes that compensation should only be awarded when the public's fear is reasonable, and the minority view holds that such individuals should never be compensated. Part II of this Comment attempts to summarize the current state of the law on the issue of fear-based land value diminution by examining relevant case law. Part III argues that the majority view is superior to the minority and intermediate views. This part demonstrates that the majority view is essentially a strict liability approach, and suggests that the justifications for imposing strict liability upon an actor also support imposing upon power companies the cost of compensating property owners for losses caused by the public's fear of EMF health hazards. Part IV notes that in situations where the majority view may be inappropriate, courts or legislatures can create exceptions. Finally, Part V concludes that the majority view is the superior approach to determining damages caused by fear of EMF.

Full Text of Article


Back to the Law Review home page