Amphitheaters, Inc. v. Portland Meadows

198 P.2d 847 (1948)


In 1945, D commenced arrangements for the purchase of land and the construction thereon of a one-mile race track. D applied for a license to operate a race meet to be held in May 1946, and the license was issued. Extensive newspaper publicity was given to the race track project, featuring the fact that the property would be lighted for night racing. A contractor was employed to plan and construct the race track and the facilities incidental thereto. Grading was commenced in November, and the work was continued until the project was completed on 14 September 1946. On 29 November, 1945, a lease agreement was executed between Northwest Sports, Inc. and P, entitling P, to construct and operate a drive-in outdoor motion picture theater upon the property adjoining the race track of D. The lease provided that the operation of the theater must not interfere with the operations of the same property for auto racing. P's construction was commenced in May or June of 1946. P knew that the race track was to be lighted for night racing, though they may not have known the volume or extent of the proposed lighting. The theater was completed and commenced operating on 31 August 1946. The race track was completed and the first races held fifteen days later. P invested $ 135,000 in the construction of the outdoor theater and sums greatly in excess of that amount were expended by D in the development of the race track and facilities. P constructed wing fences for a considerable distance on each side of the screen and along the westerly line of Union Avenue for the purpose of shutting off the light from the cars on that arterial highway. It was also necessary to construct a shadow box extending on both sides and above the screen for the purpose of excluding the light from the moon and stars. The extreme delicacy of P's operation and the susceptibility of outdoor moving pictures to light in any form was conclusively established by the evidence. There is substantial evidence to the effect that reflected light 'spills' over onto P's premises and has a serious effect on the quality of pictures shown on the screen. The nearest cluster of lights on the defendant's track is 832 feet distant from P's screen. The light from D's track not only impairs the quality of the pictures but there is also substantial evidence that Ps have suffered financial loss as the result of the illumination of which they complain. P sued D. D made attempts to remedy and installed hoods and thirty louvers for the purpose of further confining the light to D's property. These efforts materially reduced but did not eliminate the conditions. P lost the suit and appealed. P contends that by casting light equivalent to that of a full moon upon P's screen D has committed a trespass upon real property and the court should have submitted the issue of trespass to the jury.