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Trespass To Land

Law Dictionary
CASE BRIEFS

Law Dictionary

Featuring Black's Law Dictionary 2nd Ed.
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Outline

A.

Definition A trespass to land is the intentional invasion of another’s interest in the exclusive possession of land. A person in constructive or actual possession of the land can assert this action.

B.

Physical Invasion A physical invasion to another’s land occurs if a defendant:

1.
Enters upon the land,

2.
Causes another person or an object to enter the land,

3.
Fails to remove something from the land which the defendant is under a legal duty to remove, or

4.
Wrongfully remains on the land, despite a legal entry.

C.

Intent
1.
Traditional Rule Trespass was traditionally a strict liability offense under English common law.

2.
Modern Rule One must intend to commit or cause the physical invasion of the plaintiff’s land. No intent to harm is necessary. A reasonable, but mistaken belief that the land was one’s own, or that the actor had a privilege to enter the land is not a defense to trespass. One needs only to intend to step on the land.

D.

Damages Nominal damages, as well as actual damages, may be recovered. A defendant is strictly liable for all consequential damages that naturally, directly and proximately result from the trespass.

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