Chicago Couple Sues Neighbor Over 20 Smelly Cats

By Deanne Katz, Esq. on August 24, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

'Smelly cat, smelly cat, what are they feeding you?'

Or in this case, why aren't they taking care of you? That's the question Johanna Torres and her husband, Matthew Greenberg, are posing in the lawsuit they filed against their neighbor, Rossana Ioppolo, and their condo association.

The suit alleges that Ioppolo's 20 cats got too smelly and the stink traveled to the neighboring apartment, infecting Torres's and Greenberg's living space and belongings.

That smelly situation is more than an annoyance; it's a legal nuisance.

The couple's attorney, Michael J. Zink, told the press that the stink is still in the condo which the couple have tried unsuccessfully to sell.

Torres is allergic to cats and has had to actually step outside in order to get some fresh air.

The complaint alleges that the couple complained about the cats to Ioppolo, the condo association, and individual members of the board. The sum total of that complaining resulted in no fresher smells, reports the Chicago Tribune.

So they brought in the big guns and let their lawyer do the talking.

The smell allegedly comes in the through the vents and closing them doesn't keep it out, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. The couple, who live in Chicago, have kept the vents closed for two years which means no air conditioning.

Think about that. That means the smell was worse than sitting through two Chicago summers without AC.

In most cases, there's nothing to be done about annoying neighbors except live through it and save the stories for later. But in this case, the couple can and did bring a suit.

The claim is that Ioppolo's cat-hoarding violates the condo association's bylaws which all residents have to abide by. But they could have also sued for legal nuisance since the smell is preventing them from enjoying their condo.

A nuisance is some intrusion onto your property that interferes with your ability to enjoy it.

Bad smells, consistent loud noise, or large structures are all things that can be considered a nuisance. Successful suits can require neighbors to clean up, turn it down, or compensate you for the intrusion on your property.

Perhaps the couple should consider their own version of Phoebe's famous ballad as part of their lawsuit. 'Smelly cat, smelly cat, what are you doing here? Smelly cat, smelly cat, you have to go.' ... We'll keep working on it.

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