Tarr v. Hopewell Community Club, 153 Wash. 214, 279 Pac.


594 (1929).

 214    TARR v. HOPEWELL COMMUNITY CLUB.
                Opinion Per PARKER, J.           153 Wash.

      [No. 21832. Department Two. July 29. 1929.]
LEVI TARR, Appellant, v. HOPEWELL COMMUNITY CLUB,
                    Respondent. 1

[1] NUISANCE (8) - PRIVATE NUISANCE - EVIDENCE - SUFFICIENCY -
USE OF COMMUNITY HALL. Findings to the effect that a social
club, maintaining a community club house for dances and social
gatherings, is not a nuisance, because of noise and confusion
incident to the departure of attendants, and some boisterous
conduct and drinking by individuals outside of the club house,
are sustained where the club was not responsible therefor and
helped to suppress it, and any annoyance was trivial and of
short duration.

Appeal from a judgment of the superior court for
Whatcom county, Hardin, J., entered April 10, 1928,
upon findings in favor of the defendant, in an action
for injunctive relief, tried to the court. Affirmed.

R. W. Greene, for appellant.

Bixby & Neal (George Downer, of counsel), for respondent.

PARKER

PARKER, J. - The plaintiff, Tarr, asks that the community
hall belonging to, and maintained by, the defendant
community club, or rather the manner of its
use, be adjudged to be a nuisance and its use enjoined.
Trial upon the merits in the superior court for Whatcom
county resulted in denial of the relief prayed for,
from which Tarr has appealed to this court.

Respondent is an incorporated rural community club.
It was not organized for profit in any commercial
sense. Its purposes and powers specified in its articles
of incorporation are as follows:

"This corporation is formed for social, charitable,
educational, philanthropic, legislative, home economics,
amusement, musical, literary, scientific, medical and


1 Reported in 279 Pac. 594.

           TARR v. HOPEWELL COMMUNITY CLUB.           215
 July 1929          Opinion Per PARKER, J.

mutual general betterment and advancement ....

"This corporation may hold real and personal
property, hire, erect, or purchase suitable buildings
for its accommodation and to carry out its purposes, . . ."

During a period of some five years past, respondent
has owned and used, strictly within its purposes and
powers above enumerated, a community hall at a central
point in a prosperous rural community in Whatcom
county. This location was chosen because of its
being a central location, it being near the community
public school house. Respondent's members are residents
of the community, residing within a radius of a
few miles of the hall and school house. Appellant
owns and lives upon a farm immediately across the
public highway from the hall, his dwelling house being
about 160 feet from the hall. He complains that
the night meetings at the hall, which are quite frequent
in their holdings, are accompanied by much noise of a
very annoying character, particularly at the termination
of those meetings, in the starting of a large number
of automobiles, accompanied by loud talking and
calling from one car to another by the occupants
thereof, and the blowing of automobile horns, such noise
and confusion being also accompanied, to an enhanced
degree in its annoying character, by drinking of
intoxicating liquor when public dances are held, the holding
of which dances occur about once each month.

There is no evidence of any boisterous or disorderly
conduct having occurred at any time within the hall
or of any drinking of intoxicating liquor therein; nor
is there any evidence that any officer or member of
respondent ever in the least sanctioned any disorderly
conduct or the possession or drinking of any
intoxicating liquor in or near the hall. Indeed, the
evidence is convincing that they have diligently put forth
efforts to prevent any such conduct, going to the extent of

 216    TARR v. HOPEWELL COMMUNITY CLUB.
                Opinion Per PARKER, J.          153 Wash.

having a deputy sheriff present to that end at the times
when public dances were held. At those dances, an
admission fee was charged for the purpose of raising
funds to aid in paying the expenses of the club.

The evidence does show that some drinking of intoxicating
liquor from bottles was indulged in outside the
hall by some persons, other than members of respondent,
coming to those dances, and this probably rendered
the conduct of such persons more boisterous and
annoying outside the hall, particularly when leaving in
their automobiles at late hours of the night, than such
conduct would have been in the absence of such drinking.
But, as we have noticed, neither the officers nor
members of respondent in the least sanctioned or encouraged
any such conduct. On the contrary, they diligently
sought to prevent such conduct. The evidence
rather convincingly shows that the noise and confusion
incident to the departing of attendants at the dances
and other night meetings at the hall lasted but a few
moments at the conclusion of such meeting, and that
there was but little noise of an annoying character at
other times.

Appellant is of an eccentric disposition, and, we think,
is inclined to entertain an exaggerated view of the
annoying character of what occurred incident to the
holding of the night meetings and dances at the hall. We
do not mean to suggest that, because of his eccentric
disposition, he is not entitled to all the protection that
the law gives to any citizen. This is mentioned only
as being worthy of consideration in determining
whether or not the facts of the case furnish appellant
legal cause for the relief he seeks.

[1] Our review of the somewhat voluminous evidence,
wherein we find it not an easy task to separate
the wheat from the chaff, convinces us that we would
not be warranted in disturbing the conclusion reached

           TARR v. HOPEWELL COMMUNITY CLUB.          217
 July 1929          Opinion Per PARKER, J.

by the trial court. Each case of this nature is, of
necessity, determinable in the light of its own peculiar
facts, as was well said by Judge Morris, speaking for
this court, in Crawford v. Central Steam Laundry,
78 Wash. 355, 139 Pac. 56:

"The precise degree of discomfort that must be
produced to constitute a lawful business a nuisance
because of the things complained of by respondents
cannot be definitely stated. No fixed rule can be given that
will be applicable to all cases. Each case must therefore
depend largely upon its own facts. In so far as
a general rule can be formulated, the enjoyment of
one's premises must be sensibly diminished, either by
actual tangible injury to the property itself or by the
promotion of such physical discomforts as detract
sensibly from the ordinary enjoyment of life. It is not
enough that the business sought to be enjoined is productive
of inconvenience, or shocks the taste, or diminishes
the value of property in the vicinity, or causes
a reduction in rentals. Every person has a right to do
with his own property as he sees fit so long as he does
not invade the rights of his neighbor unreasonably,
judged by the ordinary standards of life, according to
the notions and habits of people of ordinary
sensibilities and simple tastes. 1 Wood, Nuisances (3d ed.),
. . ."

See, also, 46 C.J. 653.

The judgment is affirmed.

MILLARD, MAIN, BEALS, and FRENCH, JJ., concur.