The major difference between the two is the scope of harm that is done and the number of people to whom the harm is done.
A private nuisance is one that is felt by a single person or perhaps a single family. By contrast, a public nuisance is one whose impact is felt by a large number of people.
Some possible examples of private nuisance:
- Your dog using my yard as its toilet
- My tree dropping rotten fruit in your yard
Some possible examples of public nuisance:
- A bar playing loud music late at night near to private homes
- A business that dumps its trash in the empty lot out back, attracting rodents and flies and endangering public health
- A run-down motel that is used mainly by drug dealers and prostitutes
In general, the remedy for private nuisance is a suit brought by the offended private citizen. The remedy for a public nuisance is sought by the affected government.
This is a great question! A private nuisance is something that bothers usually only one individual or maybe one family. For example, a washing machine that you have to kick to get it to work, but you don't have enough money to buy a new one. A public nuisance is one that affects many people, usually in a larger setting. For example, if a frat house is having a huge party, the entire neighborhood would be affected and upset.
Public nuisance affects the public while a private nuisance is one that affects an individual or a family. For instance, if a farmer failed to properly disposed of a significant amount of manure, or atleast cover up its smells, and neighbors and an adjacent neighborhood could not avoid the odors, it would constitute a public nuisance. If there was one family immediately adjacent to that property, yet it could be smelled beyond that immediate family it would constitute a private nuisance since it is only affecting the family adjacent to that family. Since there are not neighbors around it it would then be considered a private nuisance.