Rick's Take

Legal News of Note, Public Policy Commentary, and Other Items of Interest.

Lehmann Law Office Challenges Nottingham So-Called "Chemical Trespass" Ordinance

March 27, 2019




            Today Lehmann Law Office, PLLC filed suit in Rockingham County Superior Court on behalf of its clients, Brent Tweed and G&F Goods, LLC, seeking to have the so-called “Freedom from Chemical Trespass Ordinance” passed by the Nottingham town meeting declared unconstitutional.


            “The ordinance completely ignores established New Hampshire law and seeks to create radical new powers for people to assert claims on behalf of the environment,” according to Manchester Attorney Richard Lehmann. “The language in the ordinance is so vague and so broad that there is simply no way for a reasonable person to know what he or she can or can’t do on their own property. The legislature never gave towns the ability to adopt this kind of ordinance and Nottingham should have known that this could never stand,” Lehmann added.


            Brent Tweed is a small business owner in Nottingham. He said that he, “has no issue with people wanting to protect natural resources. But they have to go about it legally and should not do it in a way that leaves people open to harassment.”


            The ordinance would permit any person to sue any corporation for “chemical trespass,” a term that is not clearly defined in the ordinance. Further, the ordinance would allow any individual to represent the rights of “ecosystems and natural communities” in court. 


            “The idea of ‘ecosystems and natural communities’ having their interests represented in court by any individual citizens wishing to do is unusual, to say the least,” Lehmann said. 


            Enforcement of a similar ordinance adopted by the City of Toledo was recently enjoined by a federal court in Ohio.


            “I just want to be able to about my business in accordance with state and federal law, and not have to worry that somebody in my town is not going to like what I am doing and take me to court and ask me to pay damages for doing something that is perfectly legal. It’s not right and I felt like someone had to do something to make sure that didn’t happen,” Tweed said.




Rick Lehmann