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The Thorns Case

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Bloomberg Law

Citation. Y.B. Mich. 6 Ed. 4, f. 7, pl. 18 (1466).

Brief Fact Summary. Defendant cut thorns from a hedge. These thorns landed on Plaintiff’s land and Defendant entered Plaintiff’s land to retrieve them. Plaintiff brought suit for trespass.

Synopsis of Rule of Law. If one does harm to the person or property of another, he is liable for the damage he causes even if it is an unintentional, lawful act that has caused the damage.

Facts. Defendant owns one acre of land that adjoins Plaintiff’s five acres of land. Defendant cut a thorn hedge located on his property. Against Defendant’s will, the cut thorns landed on Plaintiff’s land. Defendant entered Plaintiff’s land to take the cut thorns. Plaintiff sued Defendant for trespass.

Issue. Is Defendant liable for trespass for the lawful cutting and unintentional dropping of the thorns onto Plaintiff’s land?

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