Torts I, Pages 77–78

Rogers v. Board of Road Com'rs for Kent County

Supreme Court of Michigan, 1947

Facts:

Defendant obtained a license to place a snow fence in plaintiff's husband's field parallel to the roadway. There was an agreement that defendant would remove the fence and posts at the end of each winter. Defendant's agents and employees removed the snow fence but did not remove a steel anchor post which protruded 6–8 inches out of the ground. The grass there completely hid the post. While mowing, plaintiff's husband struck the steel stake which threw him upon the ground, killing him. Plaintiff sued for trespass and negligence.

Procedural History:

The lower court granted defendant's motion to dismiss on the pleadings and on the ground of governmental immunity, finding that no cause of action for trespass could be sustained and that governmental immunity applied.

Issue:

Is not removing a stake from someone's land a trespass?

Rule:

Bell: A privilege to enter land may be limited by time, space, or purpose.

Rule/Holding:

If one fails to remove a thing from another's land after consent has been effectively terminated a trespass is committed.

Judgment:

Reversed and remanded.

Note:

A defense to an intentional tort is called a privilege.

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