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Baker v. Shymkiv

    Brief Fact Summary.

    Baker filed a wrongful death suit following a trespass by her neighbor, Shymkiv, and finding her husband dead on Shymkiv’s property.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law.

    A trespasser can be held liable for any harm to the landowner or family members.

    Facts.

    When Baker returned home, he noticed that a trench was dug across their driveway to allow water from Shymkiv’s property, their neighbor, to be able to drain onto his property. Homer confronted Shymkiv and Homer’s wife urged Homer to calm down. After Mary called the police she returned to the Shymkiv’s property to find her husband dead and Shymkiv driving away. Mary, Baker’s wife, sued for wrongful death and the trial court found for the Shymkivs. The court of appeals reversed.

    Issue.

    Whether a trespasser can be held liable for any harm to the landowner or family members?

    Held.

    Yes. The judgment of the appellate court is affirmed. A defendant trespasser is liable for any resulting harm regardless of whether the defendant’s conduct is foreseeable.

    Discussion.

    A trespasser can be held liable for any harm to the landowner or family members.


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