This section is from the book "The Law Of Real Property and Other Interests In Land", by Herbert Thorn Dike Tiffany. Also available from Amazon: A Treatise on the Modern Law of Real Property and Other Interests in Land .
As a. general rule, every landowner is entitled to have his soil remain in its natural position, without being caused to tall away by reason of excavations or other improvements which may be made on neighboring land.89 This right is ordinarily referred to as that of lateral support. It involves no right to have the neighboring land remain in its natural state or position, but merely the right to
86. Penruddock's Case, 5 Co. Rep. 100b; Baten's Case, 9 Co. Rep. 53b; Fitzherbert's Nat. Brev. 1S4D; Comyn's Dig. Action upon the Case for Nuisance A.
87. Fay v. Prentice, 1 Com. B. 828; Chandler v. Lazarus, 55 Ark. 312, 18 S. W. 181; Shea v. Gavitt, Johns. 333; Jones v. Tankerville 89 Conn. 359, 94 Atl. 360; Bellows v. Sackett, 15 Barb. (N. Y.) 96; Davis v. Smith, 141 N. C. 108, 53 S. E. 745, 144 N. C. 297, 56 S. E. 940; Huber v. Stark, 124 Wis. 359, 109 Am. St. Rep. 937, 102 N. W. 12. See Fitzpatrick v. Welch, 174 Mass. 4S6, 48 L. R. A. 278, 55 N. E. 178; Davis v. Niagara Falls Tower Co., 171 N. Y. 336, 89 Am. St. Rep. 817, 57 L. R. A. 545, 64 N. E. 4.
88. Armstrong v. Luco, 102 Cal. 272, 36 Pac. 674; Copper v. Dolvin, 68 Iowa, 757, 56 Am. Rep. 272, 28 N. W. 59; Hazeltine v. Edgmand, 35 Kan. 202, 57 Am. Rep. 157, 10 Pac. 544; Underwood v. Waldron, 33 Mich. 232; Philips v. Taylor, 93 Minn. 28, 100 N. W. 649; Bell v. Alzey Realty Co., 163 Mo. App. 361, 143 S. W. 859.
89. Wyatt v. Harrison, 3 Barn & Adol. 871; Humphries v. Brog-den, 12 Q. B. 739; Northern Transportation Co. v. City of Chicago, 99 U. S. 635, 25 L. Ed. 336; Moody v. McCelland, 39 Ala. 45, 84 Am. Dec. 770; Chesapeake & O. Rwy. Co. v. May, 157 Ky. 708, 163 S. W. 1112; Foley v. Wyeth, 2 Allen (Mass.) 131; Gilmore v. Driscoll, 122 Mass. 199, 23 Am. Rep. 312; Schultz v. Bower, 57 Minn. 493, 59 N. W. 631; Charless v. Rankin, 22 Mo. 566, 66 Am. Dec. 642; Mosier v. Oregon Nav. Co., 39 Or. 256, 61 Pac. 453; Matulys v. Philadelphia Coal & Iron Co., 201 Pa. St. 70, 50 Atl. 823; Richardson v. Vermont Cent. R. Co., 25 Vt. 465, 60 Am. Dec. 2S3; Tun-stall v. Christian, 80 Va. 1, 56 Am. Rep. 581.
90. Backhouse v. Bonomi, 9 H. L. Cas. 503; Bonomi v. Backhouse, EL, Bl. & El. 654; Darley Main Colliery Co. v. Mitchell, 11 App. Cas. 127; Kansas City Northwestern Rwy. Co. v. Schwake, 70 Kan. 141, 68 L. R. A. 673, 3 Ann. Cas. 118, 78 Pac. 431; Schultz v. Bower, 57 Minn. 493, 47 Am. St. Rep. 630, 59 N. W. 631; Rector, etc., v. Paterson Extension Ry. Co., 66 N. J. L. 218, 49 Atl. 1030; Houston Waterworks v. Kennedy, 70 Tex. 233, 8 S. W. 36; Smith v. City of Seattle, 18 Wash. 484, 63 Am. St. Rep. 910, 51 Pac. 1057.
But in Pennsylvania, in cases involving the right of subjacent support, which would seem properly to be governed by the same principles as govern the right of lateral support, it was decided that the right of action accrued upon the withdrawal of the natural support originally furnished by the neighboring land, without the substitution of any artificial support, and that the statute of limitations began to run from that time, and not from the subsidence of the land. Noonan v. Pardee, 200 Pa. 474, 55 L. R. A. 410, 86 Am. St. Rep. 722, 50 Atl. 255; Tischler v. Pennsylvania Coal Co., 218 Pa. 82, 66 Atl. 988. One result of such a view would seem to be that, if the subsidence did not occur within the stat-tory period after the withdrawal of support, there could be no recovery, or, at most, a recovery of nominal damages only, and it would, of course, be difficult to say, ordinarily, that the support left was insufficient, until this was shown by the subsidence of the land. See, also, the criticism of the case in 15 Harv. Law Rev. 574.
90a. Trinidad Asphalt Co. v. Ambard (1899) App. Cas. 594; Trowbridge v. True, 52 Conn. 192, 52 Am. Rep. 579; O'Neill v. Hiarkins, 8 Bush (Ky.) 650; Wiers
The right of support burdens so much of the neighboring land, whether owned by one or more persons, as would, in the natural state of things, afford the requisite support to the dominant tenement,91 and land which, in the natural state of things, is so far away that its working would not affect the support of other land, is not subject to any claim in this respect merely because intervening land has been excavated in such a way that the working of the more remote Land will cause a Sinking of such other.92
One is not liable as for a tort because, as a result of the drainage of his own land, he withdraws the percolating water from his neighbor's land and thus causes the latter land to fall or settle. He has the right, in the reasonable utilization of his own land, to drain out the water therein, and the fact that this results in damage to his neighbor is not a ground of liability.93 But he has, it has been decided, no right, in the utilization or improvement of his own land, to drain out from his neighbor's land wet sand or running silt, so as to interfere with the support of such land 94 and a similar view was taken in reference to a subsidence of land caused by the effect upon underlying pitch or asphalt of operations on adjoining land.95
Appeal 81 Pa. 203; 'Simon v. Niance, 45 Tex. Civ. App. 480, 100 S. W. 1038. See Lyons v. Walsh, 92 Conn. 18, 101 Atl. 488.
91. Corporation of Birmingham v. Allen, 6 Ch. Div. 284. And see Keating v. City of Cincinnati, 38 Ohio St. 141, 43 Am. Rep. 121.
92. Corporation of Birmingham v. Allen, 6 Ch. Div. 284. But see Foley v. Wyeth, 2 Allen (Mass.) 131, 79 Am. Dec. 771.
93. Popplewell v. Hodkinson L. R. 4 Exch. 248; New York etc. Filtration Co. v. Jones, 37 Dist. Col. App. 511.
94. Jordeson v. Sutton etc. Co. (1899) 2 Ch. 217; Cabot v. Kingman, 166 Mass. 403, 33 L. R. A. 45, 44 X. E. 344 (three judges dissenting); Columbus v Willard, 7 Ohio Circ. Dec. 33. See edi-toria notes, 10 Harv. Law Rev. at p. 183; 20 Id. at p. 487.
In White v. Nassau Trust Co., 168 N. Y. 149 64 L. R. A. 275. 61 N. E. 169, the view was taken that the owner of a pier could not complain of the withdrawal of lateral support by a grantee of land under water in the course of the construction of a dry dock.