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PROHIBITION AND PREEMPTION

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 September 1999

Arthur Ripstein
Affiliation:
University of Toronto

Extract

Like many of you, I have a neighbor with an excitable car alarm. It goes off if someone drives by at just the right speed, if the humidity is right, or if a large insect lands on the hood. Worse, it seems most sensitive at night. (Perhaps that’s just when he parks in front of my house.) I’d like to do something about it, to preempt it before it preempts another night of sleep. One possibility, which is beyond my competence, is repairing it myself. Another, which I have so far resisted, is to get out my tool box and remove the offending device. Private law has a kinder and gentler solution: I can get an injunction. Rather than trying to sue my neighbor for minuscule damages each time he wakes me, and waste a huge amount of both of our time in the process, I can enlist the state’s support, and have it act preemptively to prevent him from waking me.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© 1999 Cambridge University Press

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