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THE MEANING OF “PROPERTY”

Thus, in the case establishing punitive damages in this state, this court recognized that in certain situations of trespass, the actual harm is not in the damage done to the land, which may be minimal, but in the loss of the individual’s right to exclude others from his or her property and, the court implied that this right may be punished by a large damage award despite the lack of measurable harm.

The Jacques argue that both the individual and society have significant interests in deterring intentional trespass to land, regardless of the lack of measurable harm that results. We agree with the Jacques. An examination of the individual interests invaded by an intentional trespass to land, and society’s interests in preventing intentional trespass to land, leads us to the conclusion that the [general] rule should not apply when the tort supporting the award is intentional trespass to land.

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