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The Bengies claimed light from a Royal Farms store that opened in 2008 was interfering with its ability to show movies. (File photo)

Ruling for Royal Farms affirmed in Bengies light pollution suit

The Bengies Drive-In Movie Theatre is not entitled to $838,000 in damages a jury awarded it in its light-pollution suit against a nearby Royal Farms, the Court of Special Appeals affirmed.

A Baltimore County Circuit Court jury awarded the damages in 2012 after finding that the light from the Royal Farms constituted a private nuisance that interfered with the property rights of its neighbor, Maryland’s last drive-in movie theater. Theater operator D. Edward Vogel said at the time he would use the money to build a 25-foot barrier fence to block the light.

However, the convenience store owners filed a motion for Judgment Notwithstanding the Verdict. The Baltimore County Circuit Court agreed with Royal Farms that there was insufficient evidence for the jury to find a private nuisance.

In Wednesday’s decision, the Court of Special Appeals agreed there was not enough evidence to prove the “the defendant’s interference with plaintiff’s property rights is both unreasonable and substantial, and that the harm or inconvenience created by such interference is ‘objectively reasonable’ to the ordinary person.”

The case is Blue Ink Ltd. v. Two Farms Inc. d/b/a/ Royal Farms Inc., No. 1487, Sept. Term 2012.