Archive for Thursday, May 23, 1996

LIGHT LAWSUIT

May 23, 1996

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A dispute between neighbors over an outdoor security light has resulted in a lawsuit.

A Eudora dispute has illuminated a dispute with views as different as night and day.

On one side is Roxane Crow. All she wants is a little peace, quiet and darkness.

On the other is Al and Vi Deathe. All they want is a little security and illumination.

The neighbors' argument began when the Deathes requested and installed an outdoor security light 14 months ago on their property on North 1500 Road.

Crow doesn't like it. She claims the light is too bright and has compromised her privacy and quality of life.

Now, the dispute has reached a stage in which a judge and jury could decide who is right.

Crow this week filed a lawsuit against the Deathes for damages in excess of $50,000.

"This light can be fixed with a $45 light shield that my client is willing to pay for," said Crow's attorney, David Brown of Lawrence. "They won't allow any changes. We understand he has a desire to illuminate his yard but ... she doesn't want her house lit up."

The light, according to the lawsuit, is a 20,000-lumen mercury vapor security light. A lumen is equal to the light of a candle.

Comparatively, street lights used in residential areas in Lawrence have 7,000, 9,600 or 20,000 lumens, a KPL official said.

But the shape of the light fixture can change how the light is distributed.

Brown said that Deathe's light is so bright that Crow can read by it inside her home at night with all her lights turned out.

Brown said he did not know how far Crow's home is from the light.

Al Deathe was served with the lawsuit Wednesday, he said.

"This is an ongoing deal," he said. "It's the most ridiculous thing."

Deathe declined further comment, saying that because the light is the property of KPL, the company may take over the lawsuit on his behalf.

According to Crow's lawsuit, the light interferes with activities inside and outside her home.

It "constitutes as nuisance, disturbing (her) sleep inside the house, interfering with (her) privacy and has generally disrupted (her) use and enjoyment of her property," the lawsuit says.

Crow also claims her property value will go down because of the light.

Crow has, according to the suit, requested both verbally and in writing several times to the Deathes to "modify" the light.

They "have refused to take any action to terminate or modify the problem," the suit states.

The Deathes, or KPL, if it so chooses to take up the suit, have 20 days from Wednesday to file an answer to the suit.

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