Torts I, Pages 74–75

Herrin v. Sutherland

Supreme Court of Montana, 1925

Facts:

Defendant was not on plaintiff's property and shot his shotgun at birds that were on plaintiff's property. Plaintiff sued for $10 of damage.

Procedural History:

Defendant's general demurrer was overruled and he defaulted after plaintiff's counsel told him that only nominal damages would be demanded. The court rendered judgment for plaintiff for $1.

Issue:

Is it a trespass to land to shoot birds flying over someone's land?

Rule:

One's land rights extend up to an indefinite extent.

Reasoning:

The bullets trespassed in plaintiff's property's air space like he knew it would.

Holding:

Yes, it is a trespass to land to shoot birds over someone's land. Affirmed.

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