Judicial Precedent introduction


Illegal act


1. Cap of lawyer's rights against opposing parties

This case deals with an ongoing family conflict, culminating in court, regarding as to who had rights to the family cemetery plot. The Mito District Court ruled that counsel for the plaintiffs exceeded his rights when he referred to the defendant's act of appropriating the family tombstone as insane, both in court proceedings and legal documents; and was furthermore held liable in tort for slander and libel. This not only constitutes a loss of immunity for litigators, but essentially also imposes a gag order on counsel, who might fear to bring forth relevant facts for fear of incurring liability.
2. Defamation of Unnamed Entity; Plaintiff etablishes "colloquium"

Defendant issues and distributes a monthly economics magazine in which he published news of a scandal concerning the plaintiff, a financial company, charging that it profited at the expense of its customers, not only through excessive interests rates, but also through fraud and its questionable association with a notorious swindler, although the financial company was never named in offending articles, it was able to establish a colloquium, and demanded a retraction and apology in part of the defendant, as well as compensation for damage to its reputations and good name. The Tokyo District Court rendered a surprising split decision, allowing damages for defamation while rejecting the plaintiff's plead for retraction and apology, holding that the widespread negative publicity concerning the financial company modus operandi and unfortunate associations that had preceded the defendant's own publication obviated an apology.

3. Right to sunlight compensable; Joint tort responsibility to uphold right.

A small group of 5 plaintiffs purchased an apartment each, in which they dwelt at the time of pleading. At the time of purchase, defendant vendor, through its agent, claimed ownership of a lot adjacent to their apartment complex, in which stood an old house, and assured the plaintiffs that no unit higher than a one-storied house would ever be built on that lot. But when the vendor sold the property to a construction company, it did nothing to secure the right of the plaintiffs, and the new owners of the lot proceeded to build a two-storied structure, blocking sunlight and ventilation from the neighboring complex. The Tokyo District Court held each and all responsible parties liable for the plaintiff's claim in damages; the vendor and its agent for promising, then failing to protect the plaintiff's rights; the construction company, for knowingly violating their rights. This is the first case in which a property's diminution in value, as a direct result of its loss of sunlight and ventilation, has been acknowledged and compensated in court. Note that in the Japanese court system, joint liability requires that each defendant pay all the damages, unlike the American system where payment of damages by one defendant in essence extinguishes the duty of all other defendants.
4. Residential development on land at risk of collapse

The plaintiffs, who lived in an area surrounding land to be developed, sued for developers to stop proceeding with the project, as the land in question had a history of collapsing, and the plaintiffs feared that building on the land brought the risk of this land collapsing again, causing their own property damage and endangering their lives. The Yokohama District Court ruled against Plaintiff ruling that defendants had instituted adequate safety measures to prevent the damage feared. It seems that in light of adequate safety measures in the part of defendant, Plaintiffs failed to demonstrate a reasonable probability that development of the land would pose a risk to their own property.
5. Illegitimate IPO offering in struggle for management

The plaintiff, owner of stock majority in a company previously represented by her husband as president, and now represented by her, was replaced by the board of directors with a new president . In addition, the board concocted a plan involving the issue of new stock as an ersatz, IPO to get her rid of her stock majority. These newly issued stocks were all assigned to their group for a short period of time. The Chiba District Court ruled in favor of Plaintiff holding that the whole scheme should be regarded as illegal and that it damaged the value of Plaintiff's stocks and was a tort against the Plaintiff. Therefore, the court ordered the defendant company and president., to restitute the plaintiff for her total loss.

6. Skyscraper held liable for loss of real estate property value due to incidental strong wind damage

A trading company built a 20-floor building in Sakai City, Osaka, and so strong were the winds that ensured that the
neighborhood property suffered damage due to this new phenomenon; plaintiff's couldn't even dry their washing for fear of its being blown away, along with their roofing tiles. The neighborhood, plaintiffs, sued both the developer and the construction company for compensation, claiming that they were liable for their skyscraper's negative effect on real estate property values and for their severe and unchecked mental suffering. The Osaka District Court admitted the Plaintiff's claim.