Brief Fact Summary. Defendant, while hunting, fired his shotgun at birds flying over Plaintiff’s land. Plaintiff sued for trespass, claiming damages of $10.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. Interference with the airspace over one’s property can give rise to an action for trespass.
The common law of England means that body of jurisprudence as applied and modified by the courts of this country up to the time it became a rule of decision in this commonwealth.View Full Point of Law
Issue. Did the trial court err when it granted Plaintiff nominal damages for the discharge of a shotgun over his land?
Held. No. The judgment was affirmed.
* Under Blackstone’s interpretation, land extends upwards and downwards, giving its owner rights in its air space.
* Air space, at least near the ground, is nearly as subject to protection as is the ground.
Discussion. The Court confirms that the air space over one’s land is subject to protection against trespass. The Court is not called upon to determine how far such protection might extend, as the intrusion upon Plaintiff’s land occurred merely a few feet off the ground, but it does suggest that the degree of protection diminishes the further from the ground it gets.