Summary of Thomas v. Harrah’s Vicksburg Corp. (1999) Pg. 728, 734 So. 2d 312
Parties: Appellant – Plaintiff – Thomas
Appellee – Defendant – Harrah’s
Court: Court of Appeals, Mississippi (1999)
Facts: 1. From July ’93 to Dec. ’93, performed construction on a piece of property adjacent to the Plaintiff’s (Thomas’s) property.
2. Harrah’s built a wall so close to Thomas’s property line that the construction caused inevitable trespass on Thomas’s land.
3. Thomas never granted permission for them to be on his property except when he gave them permission for the specific purpose of removing scaffolding to halt the trespass.
Posture: Trial Court – ?.
Issue: Even if there is no real intent to trespass on another party’s property, does it still constitute a trespass if a person accidentally trespasses on another’s property?
Judgment: Court of Appeals ruled that there were trespasses on Thomas’s property.
Holding: From undisputed testimony by Harrah’s and their subcontractors, they admit that they trespassed on Thomas’s land, and they didn’t have permission to be on Thomas’s land, regardless if they didn’t think or believe they were on his land or believed they had permission.
Relevant Rule: “Intention. If the actor intends to be upon the particular piece of land, it is not necessary that he intend to invade the other’s interest in the exclusive possession of his land. The intention which is required to make the actor liable under the rule stated …is an intention to enter upon the particular piece of land in question, irrespective of whether the actor knows or should know that he is not entitled to enter." (Restatement Second of Torts §163). It doesn’t matter if the actor thinks the property is his, whether he thinks he has permission, or has a mistaken belief that he does have permission.