Dougherty v. Stepp
Supreme Court of NC - 1835
- D entered onto P's unenclosed land and surveyed some of it to take as his own.
- D did not cause any substantial damage to the land.
- Trial court dismissed P's case since there was no injury to the land.
- NC Supreme Court reversed, P's cause of action for trespass valid.
- Is actual physical injury to land necessary in order to maintain an action in intentional trespass?
- Actual physical injury to land is not necessary in order to maintain an action in intentional trespass.
- Actual injury may influence the amount of damages, but it is not necessary to state a cause of action.
- The intent required is the intent to enter the land (not to enter the land of someone else). A trespasser can honestly believe they are on their own land and be liable.
- In cases where there is no actual damages, nominal damages may be awarded.