Baker v. Shymkiv Case Brief

Summary of Baker v. Shymkiv (1983) Pg. 730, 451 N.E.2d 811

Parties: Appellant – Plaintiff – Baker’s wife

Appellee – Defendant – Shymkiv


Court: Supreme Court, Ohio (1983)


Facts: 1. On 3/22/78 at 8:00 pm, Baker & his wife returned home and pulled into his driveway. He noticed a car blocking his driveway and observed Shymkiv & his wife throwing tools into his car and jump into his car.

2. A trench had been dug across Baker’s driveway. Baker approached Shymkiv, and both men got into an argument over the trench.

3. Baker’s wife got in between the two men and tried to calm Baker down. She went to call the cops. When she came back, she saw Baker face down in a mud puddle while the Shymkivs drove away.

4. When the paramedics arrived, they worked on Baker and then transported him to the hospital. He was pronounced dead later that night.

5. Baker’s filed a claim for the wrongful death of Baker and trespass.



Posture: Court of Appeals – Reversed judges advice to the jury. Ruled that damage caused by intentional trespasser whether foreseeable or not still makes intentional trespasser liable.


Trial Court – Judge told the jury to only apply what a reasonable person would anticipate an injury would occur by a wrongdoer for trespassing and digging a trench on an individual’s property.

Issue: Is a trespasser only liable for the foreseeable damages that could occur from trespassing on an individual’s property?


Judgment: Affirms Court of Appeals decision that found error in TC’s instruction.

Holding: “We hold that damages caused by an intentional trespasser need not be foreseeable to be compensable."


Relevant Rule: “A trespass on land subjects the trespasser to liability for physical harm to the possessor of the land at the time of the trespass, or to the land or to his things, or to members of his household or to their things, caused by any act done, activity carried on or condition created by the trespasser, irrespective of whether his conduct is such as would subject him to liability were he not a trespasser." (Restatement Second of Torts §162).

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