CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, Ohio — It took a Cuyahoga County jury about 20-minutes to decide a Cleveland Heights outdoor pizza oven was not a nuisance, ending yet another chapter to a nearly six-year neighborhood battle.
The fight over the backyard pizza oven owned by Paul Schambs and Mary Lynne Newsome was the subject of a civil lawsuit filed by neighbor Brooks Jones and his wife.
The lawsuit, which sought $25,000 in damages, removal of the pizza oven and more, claims the smoke and fumes have hampered living conditions for Jones and his wife.
The lawsuit claims, "Defendants’ use and operation of the oven has caused intolerable smoke and fumes at the Jones Residence, and has caused significant physical discomfort, mental anguish, and loss of use and enjoyment of the Jones Residence."
But after three days of testimony and video exhibits the jury ruled the outdoor pizza oven was not an issue, leaving Newsome, who spoke exclusively with News 5, feeling vindicated by the verdict.
“We're pleased that the jury took the time to really review this and examine all the facts and to rule in our favor," said Newsome. "It was not only for the freedom for our backyard, but all the Cleveland Heights residents and other communities outside of Cleveland Heights to be able to use their backyards."
Both Newsome and Schambs gave thanks to their attorneys Sam Meadows and Nick Siciliano for working on the case for nearly two years.
The couple said they would fire up the oven for some private gatherings or to make pizza for themselves a couple dozen times a year.
The neighborhood battle over the pizza oven, which started in 2017, had Jones going public about his complaints during a July 15, 2019, Cleveland Heights city council meeting.
“We’ve had an ongoing problem with smoke from a neighbor's outdoor wood-burning pizza oven," Jones told city council. "The oven is directly in line with our main living area and is located less than 50 feet away.”
Jones added fuel to the fire in his argument against the pizza oven.
“The smoke from the oven is a huge problem during firings which last anywhere from 3 to 10 hours," said Jones. “We can not comfortably live in our home, the most effective remedy to date is to leave our home to avoid the extra discomfort that we experience.”
News 5 tried to reach Jones at his home and called his attorney but we are still waiting for a response.
News 5 took the case to Cleveland Heights city hall and we were given a copy of a 2019 ruling that found the pizza oven was not in violation of existing city ordinance.
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Jones now has 30-days to file an appeal in the case.