Baker v. Shymkiv

451 N.E.2d 811

 

RULE:

Damages caused by an intentional trespasser need not be foreseeable to be compensable.

FACTS:

Plaintiff administratrix brought an action against defendant neighbors for the wrongful death of her husband and for trespass. The trial court instructed the jury as to proximate cause that before liability could attach to defendants, they must have foreseen or reasonably anticipated the damages claimed by plaintiff as likely to follow their trespass onto plaintiff's property. The jury found in favor of defendants on the wrongful death claim and in favor of plaintiff on the trespass action, but assessed very small damages against defendants. The court of appeals reversed based on the erroneous jury instruction. Defendant neighbors appealed 

ISSUE:

Do damages caused by an intentional trespasser need to be foreseeable to be compensable?

ANSWER:

No.

CONCLUSION:

The court held that damages caused by an intentional trespasser need not be foreseeable to be compensable. The court also held that a trespass on land subjected trespassers to liability for physical harm to the possessors of the land or to their personal property caused by any act done, activity carried on, or condition created by a trespasser, irrespective of whether his conduct was such as would subject him to liability were he not a trespasser. The court affirmed the decision of the appellate court, which reversed the judgment of the trial court and remanded for a new trial.

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