Brief Fact Summary. Salisbury Livestock Co., (Plaintiff) brought suit against Colorado Central Credit Union, (Defendant) for wrongful repossession and trespass.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. If there is no confrontation and the timing and manner of a creditor’s entry are found to be reasonable then the entry is privileged.
Plaintiff loaned money to George Salisbury III, (Salisbury), secured by his motor vehicles. Salisbury defaulted and Defendant sent a team of repossessors to retrieve the vehicles. The repossessors took motor vehicles from a secluded ranch yard on property owned by Plaintiff at dawn. Plaintiff is a family corporation run by Salisbury’s father, George Salisbury Jr. Plaintiff brought suit. Defendant claims that there was no breach of the peace because there was no confrontation.
Issue. Whether a reasonable jury must find that entry to repossess was privileged either by the self-help statute or by consent.
Held. No. A reasonable jury could find that entry was not privileged.
Discussion. Points of Law - for Law School Success
Consent of the possessor or another authorized to consent is an absolute defense to trespass. View Full Point of Law
Confrontation or violence is not necessary to finding a breach of the peace. The possibility of immediate violence is sufficient. Two elements of this case might lead a reasonable jury to find a breach of the peace. First, this was an entry onto the premises of a third party not privy to the loan agreement. This could trigger a breach of the peace. Second the location of the incident was a secluded ranch yard adjacent to a residence on an isolated ranch where the vehicles sought were not visible form a public place. The location and setting of this entry warrant a jury determination as to whether the entry was reasonable or whether the peace may have been breached.