Trespass

Encroaching tree trunk and roots constitute a trespass under Montana law

The Montana Supreme Court reaffirmed the traditional rule that trees on one’s own land do not unreasonably interfere with the use and enjoyment of neighboring land even if they block the neighbor’s view and so are not nuisances Martin v. Artis, 290 P.3d 687 (Mont. 2012). However, the court held that it is a trespass for the tree’s roots to encroach on the neighbor’s land,...

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Horizontal wells are a trespass even if one has the right to drill for minerals on that land

In a complex and narrow holding, the West Virginia Supreme Court held that an oil and gas company had no right to drill horizontal wells from one parcel to another even if it owned mineral rights on the second parcel. EQT Prod. Co. v. Crowder, 828 S.E.2d 800 (W.Va. 2019). While a mineral owner has the right to use the surface of a tract in any way that is reasonable...

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Fracking may be a trespass if it involves physical intrusion on land owned by others

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court reaffirmed the rule of capture that allows an owner to withdraw oil and gas from beneath its property even if doing so draws oil and gas from beneath the land of others. The question was whether fracking is any different. In Briggs v. Southwestern Energy Production Co., 224 A.3d 334 (Pa. 2020), the court held that these rules do...

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Nevada finds no right of reasonable access to public accommodations unless a state antidiscrimination statute confers such a right

The Supreme Court of Nevada held that businesses of public amusement (including casinos) have the right to exclude patrons at will unless a state or federal antidiscrimination law limits their discretion. Slade v. Caesars Entertainment Corp.,...

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Trespass to use mineral rights one property to extract minerals from a neighboring parcel.

The West Virginia Supreme Court held that a mineral owner or lessee that has the right to use the surface of one parcel to extract minerals or oil or gas from that parcel does not have the right to use that access to take minerals from neighboring parcels whose owners conferred no such rights. EQT Production Co. v. Crowder,2019 W. Va....

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External stairway encroachment on neighboring land by one foot is allowed to remain with damages only for the trespass victim

A Massachusetts court has found that a one foot encroachment on neighboring property by a new external stairway on a building is de minimus because the alley is hardly used, and the encroachment is both small and necessary to make the stairway consistent with the building code. Krieger v. Lanark LJS LLC, 2019 Mass. App. Unpub. LEXIS 345, 2019 WL 1976015...

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Courts continue to get property law wrong when trying to apply it to the Fourth Amendment

As happened in the Supreme Court cases of Georgia v. Randolph, 547 U.S. 103 (2006) and United States v. Jones, 565 U.S. 400 (2012), the Sixth Circuit has used property law concepts to interpret the Fourth Amendment while misunderstanding what the property laws in force. US v. Jones held that the fourth amendment was violated when...

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