New Jersey's highest court on Monday overturned a $375,000 jury award given to an elderly couple who complained that a protective sand dune behind their house blocked their ocean views.
In a ruling seen as a wider victory for towns that want to build barriers to protect themselves from catastrophic storms, the state Supreme Court faulted a lower court for not allowing jurors to consider the dune's benefits in calculating its effect on property value. The high court ruled that those protective benefits should have been considered along with the loss of the ocean views.
The sand dune in question saved the elderly couple's home from destruction in Superstorm Sandy in October.
The 5-year-old case is being closely watched at the Jersey shore, which was battered by Sandy. Officials want to build protective dune systems along the state's entire 127-mile coastline, but towns fear they won't be able to if many homeowners hold out for large payouts as compensation for lost views.