HEALTH

Greenbelt man sues co-op over second-hand smoke

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In the Greenbelt Homes cooperative community, not everybody is getting along.

One neighbor wants another to stop smoking. He says the second-hand smoke comes into his house and makes him sick.

“I understand people have differences of opinions on what to do in their own homes and I respect that as long as the activity doesn't enter my property,” said David Schumann.

To live in the community, residents must sign a contract that they will not create a nuisance for neighbors. Should problems arise, the cooperative Greenbelt Homes is supposed to make you stop.

“You deal with a lot of nuisances from your neighbors and you have to learn to cope with it and try to work it out with them,” neighbor James Grant said.

Schuman says after trying everything he could think of, he took the co-op to court because it wouldn't act.

“I’m a member of the cooperative, I’m suing myself, it's an absurd situation,” Schuman said.

Neighbor Mary Pottier says, "smokers also have rights."

Her son has asthma, so she understands the serious implications of second-hand smoke. She also feels she should be able to do what she wants.

“If we're doing everything we can to accommodate them they should accommodate us,” she said.

Mark Wisler's lived and worked here for 25 years. “It could be a health nuisance but it's a tough situation because you're talking about two different people's rights,” Wisler said.

Wisler says a lot of the residents he knows support Schuman because they have the same problem. Schuman says he's not looking to make the whole community smoke-free, just his home.

Attorneys say the trial it's expected to last through Monday. Then a judge will review transcripts and all the documents and render a verdict in a few months.

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