Montana Shooting Range Lawsuit Dismissed

Montana Shooting Range Lawsuit Dismissed

This is a discussion on Montana Shooting Range Lawsuit Dismissed within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; This is an update to the original thread here: http://www.defensivecarry.com/vbulle...ing-range.html Judge dismisses shooting-range lawsuit By LYNNETTE HINTZE/The Daily Inter Lake Published: Monday, February 23, 2009 ...

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Thread: Montana Shooting Range Lawsuit Dismissed

  1. #1
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    Montana Shooting Range Lawsuit Dismissed

    This is an update to the original thread here:

    http://www.defensivecarry.com/vbulle...ing-range.html


    Judge dismisses shooting-range lawsuit
    By LYNNETTE HINTZE/The Daily Inter Lake
    Published: Monday, February 23, 2009
    A lawsuit filed by a group of neighbors west of Whitefish against the owner of a shooting range has been thrown out of court.

    Flathead District Judge Ted Lympus last week dismissed the lawsuit, siding with the defendant on all eight counts.

    Tally Bissell Neighbors Inc. sued Texas businessman Robert Hayes a year ago, alleging the loud shotgun blasts emanating from the shooting range are a public nuisance and violate constitutional guarantees.

    Hayes initiated construction of the private, noncommercial shooting range, which now is owned by Eyrie Shotgun Ranch, a limited liability corporation. The facility is located at the former Sundance Farms site near the intersection of Farm-to-Market and Tally Lake roads.

    The lawsuit alleged the noise from the shooting range has prevented the sale of surrounding properties, startled animals and people, interfered with and prevented the carrying on of businesses in the area and prevented the neighborhood from being enjoyed. The suit also alleged the shooting range poses an "attractive nuisance" because it's 1,900 feet from Bissell School.

    Columbia Falls attorney Eric Kaplan, who represented the neighbors, met with his clients Monday and said they're "looking at all options." They have about 30 days to decide whether to appeal the decision.

    The neighbors maintain that Hayes and the Eyrie Shotgun Ranch are liable for trespass because they intentionally cause sounds to enter the neighbors' land.

    But Hayes' attorney, Sean Frampton, told the judge at a November 2008 court hearing that there's nothing in state law to support it.

    Lympus agreed, saying the definition of trespass requires a person or thing to enter the property of another. Sound is not a tangible thing, he said.

    State law is on the side of the shooting-range owner in other ways, too. It promotes the safety and enjoyment of shooting sports by protecting the locations and investment in shooting ranges for shotgun, archery, rifle and pistol shooting. Another state policy notes that if shooting ranges are used during posted hours, they don't constitute a public nuisance.

    Even if the neighbors could have proven that shooting occurred outside of designated hours, state law doesn't require shooting ranges to operate during certain hours.

    "Therefore, even taking all the allegations as true ... 'state law] acts as an insuperable bar to relief for the plaintiffs on the basis of the public nuisance allegations," Lympus wrote in his order to dismiss the lawsuit.

    As for the "attractive nuisance" claim involving the nearby school, Lympus said that an attractive nuisance must apply only to injuries that already have occurred.

    The neighbors' final claim — seeking relocation or closure of the shooting range — was dismissed because Lympus said state law is vague and doesn't provide details about what procedures to use to close or relocate a shooting range.

    "As a general rule, when a statue is silent regarding private enforcement, a court may recognize a private right only when it is necessary to carry out the policy of the statute," Lympus said.

    After the shooting range was proposed in early 2007, neighbors banded together to create a neighborhood plan for the Tally Lake and Farm to Market Road area. The plan was approved by the county commissioners and established SAG-10 zoning in the 980-acre district, with a 10-acre minimum lot size.

    But from a legal prospective, Frampton argued early on that Hayes' rights were vested because there was no zoning in place when the shooting range was built.


    When you’re wounded and left on Afghanistan’s plains,
    And the women come out to cut up what remains,
    Just roll to your rifle and blow out your brains,
    And go to your God like a soldier.

    Rudyard Kipling


    Terry


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    Sounds like a bunch of anti-gun crybabies to me.
    "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."
    Thomas Jefferson

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    Quote Originally Posted by sigmanluke View Post
    Sounds like a bunch of anti-gun crybabies to me.
    Just a couple of years ago we got legislation to protect shooting ranges from exactly this type of harassment. Of course we are much more densely populated so the protection is very important.

    Cheers
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    Quote Originally Posted by sigmanluke View Post
    Sounds like a bunch of anti-gun crybabies to me.
    No, it sounds like ordinary folks were bothered by the noise.

    I'm surprised the case was dismissed; maybe peculiarities of the state's law.

    If I build my house near an existing nuisance, I have no recourse. But if you move in next to me and destroy the property value and my ability to live peacefully by creating a nuisance, you are committing a wrong against me.

    The range owner needs to mitigate the noise (probably not possible) or move. The judge may be right technically, but he is way wrong as far as doing the right thing. He may well be wrong as far as public policy goes as well. Bet he gets overturned on appeal.

    Quote Originally Posted by bbqgrill View Post
    Just a couple of years ago we got legislation to protect shooting ranges from exactly this type of harassment. Of course we are much more densely populated so the protection is very important.

    Cheers
    It is not the range that is being harassed. It is the neighbors who are subjected to the noise. If they bought there after the range was there, tough luck. But if the range came after, they are having their peace and their property values damaged. This is no different than the damage that would be done to you if someone put a high powered amplified music system on their property and operated it with no regard to your prior presence and your right to peaceably enjoy your property.

    I have no sympathy for folks who buy property near an existing railroad or airport and then complain of the noise. But, if they are there first, the have a legitimate gripe.

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    So, having heard opposing views I thought to revisit my opinion but, I don't know anything about the area. So I used my Google maps to see what the area around Farm To Market Road near Tally Lake Road in Whitefish, MT looks like here is what I found Google Maps well you'll need to enter this search term - Farm-to-Market and Tally Lake Rd, Whitefish, MT . This looks like it is a very rural area by the scale there is at least 1000 feet between any structures. The area did not have zoning laws before the construction of the range, someone could have built a steel mill on the site. I think the neighbors acted to late.
    "To believe that social reforms can eradicate evil altogether is to forget that evil is a protean creature, forever assuming a new shape when deprived of an old one." - SAT

    Never argue with an idiot - they'll bring you down to their level then beat you with experience.

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