Adverse possessor has trespass claim against original owner

In Owens v. Buccheri, 2016 Mass. LCR LEXIS 121 (Mass. Land Ct. 2016), the Massachusetts Land Court held that an adverse possessor can sue the original owner of land acquired by adverse possession for trespass when the original owner cuts down trees and excavates on the land. While in some sense an unremarkable holding, it is an object lesson not to engage in self-help on disputed land when the facts are such that one might have lost title to that land by adverse possession.

The court also reaffirmed the rule that one can commit a trespass by mistake if entry on the land is voluntary.

The court also interpreted a state law allowing for treble damages for removal of trees on someone else's land to allow damages not only for the value of the timber that was wrongfully cut or hte diminution in the fair market value of the land but the the cost of restoration of the land which can include the cost of replacing the trees, citing Glavin v. Eckman, 881 N.E.22d 820 (Mass. Ct. App. 2008).