The first reported decision involving the problem of the liability in law of the modern rainmaker has recently been rendered.' Though other disputes are reported to have arisen, they have not been finally decided in any regularly reported case.
The case was before the Trial Division of the Supreme Court of New York, the dispute having arisen out of experiments artificially to induce rainfall conducted by the City of New York during the recent, much publicized water shortage in that city. Plaintiffs, who were owners of a vacation resort in upper New York State, sought to enjoin these experiments on the grounds that they would result in floods which would damage riparian owners, and cause rainfall that would be harmful to the resort business. In denying the injunction the court said: "Apart from the legal defects in plaintiffs' suit (since they clearly have no vested property rights in the clouds or the moisture therein), the factual situation fails to demonstrate any possible irreparable injury to plaintiffs."
The legal question involved in this new science of weather control, and artificially induced precipitation, are many and varied. In view of the recent scientific advances in this field, many problems involving rights to receive precipitation upon one's land, as well as the right to be free from artificially induced precipitation, are certain to arise in the near future.
Gus D. Hatfield Jr.,
Legal Problems Raised by Artificial Rainmaking,
4 Vanderbilt Law Review
Available at: https://scholarship.law.vanderbilt.edu/vlr/vol4/iss2/5