An action for mesne profits springs from a trespass and a tortious holding. It lies after a judgment in ejectment to recover for the damage sustained by the owner in consequence of the wrongful entry and occupancy of the land from the time the entry was made until the recovery is had. When plaintiff in ejectment has been placed in possession and institutes his action for mesne profits, only such lands are affected by such action as were embraced in the action of ejectment. The worth of the use of the property while a trespass is continued thereon is the measure of the mesne profits recoverable as damages and may be shown by the reasonable rental value. As is true of all damages, they are not recoverable without some evidence as to amount, and they must be proved with a reasonable degree of certainty.
A trespasser used part of the landowners' property for a parking lot. The landowners brought an action in trespass. While the trial court found that a trespass had taken place, it also determined that the landowners had failed to re-enter the land prior to the filing of the complaint and that the landowners failed to prove any actual or physical damage to the tract of land trespassed upon. An injunction commanding the trespasser to vacate was issued and the landowners were awarded only nominal damages because the landowners were not entitled to damages representing the worth of the use of the land upon which they had trespassed. The landowners appealed the case.
Were landowners entitled to damages representing the worth of the use of the land if they had failed to re-enter the land prior to filing their case?
The court affirmed. The trial court did not err in finding that the landowners were not entitled to damages representing the worth of the use of the land trespassed upon absent evidence that the landowners had re-entered the property.