2020 Georgia Code
Title 51 - Torts
Chapter 9 - Injuries to Real Estate
§ 51-9-1. Cause of Action for Interference With Enjoyment of Property

Universal Citation: GA Code § 51-9-1 (2020)

The right of enjoyment of private property being an absolute right of every citizen, every act of another which unlawfully interferes with such enjoyment is a tort for which an action shall lie.

(Orig. Code 1863, § 2955; Code 1868, § 2962; Code 1873, § 3013; Code 1882, § 3013; Civil Code 1895, § 3874; Civil Code 1910, § 4470; Code 1933, § 105-1401.)

Cross references.

- Justifiable use of force in defense of property, §§ 16-3-23,16-3-24.

Criminal trespass and damage to property, § 16-7-20 et seq.

Unauthorized entry onto property for purpose of buying junk, § 43-22-4.

Actions against joint wrongdoers, § 51-12-30.

Law reviews.

- For article, "The Business Tort - Interference with Contractual Relationships or Business Expectations," see 19 Ga. St. B. J. 66 (1982). For survey article on labor and employment law for the period from June 1, 2002 to May 31, 2003, see 55 Mercer L. Rev. 303 (2003). For article, "Timber! - Falling Tree Liability in Georgia," see 10 Ga. St. B. J. 10 (No. 2, 2004). For article, "Keep Out! The Efficacy of Trespass, Nuisance and Privacy Torts as Applied to Drones," see 33 Georgia St. U.L. Rev. 359 (2017).



  • General Consideration
  • Applicability to Specific Cases
General Consideration

Common law has not been changed as it pertains to direct damage to realty but is codified in this section. Brooks v. Ready Mix Concrete Co., 94 Ga. App. 791, 96 S.E.2d 213 (1956).

One who commits trespass upon land of another is subject to be sued as trespasser, whether one is acting personally or as an agent for another. Gill v. First Christian Church, Atlanta Ga., Inc., 216 Ga. 454, 117 S.E.2d 164 (1960); Bodin v. Gill, 216 Ga. 467, 117 S.E.2d 325 (1960).

No right to carry firearm in place of worship.

- Private property owners could forbid the possession of a weapon on the owners' premises as property law, tort law, and criminal law, such as that later codified in O.C.G.A. §§ 16-7-21(b)(3),51-3-1,51-3-2,51-9-1, provided the canvas on which the Second Amendment was drafted, and illustrated that the basis of the Second Amendment did not include protection for a right to carry a firearm in a place of worship against the church owner's wishes. GeorgiaCarry.Org, Inc v. Georgia, 687 F.3d 1244 (11th Cir. 2012).

Code gives right of action for absolute liability if one's property is injured directly by another's use of the property. Brooks v. Ready Mix Concrete Co., 94 Ga. App. 791, 96 S.E.2d 213 (1956).

Liability for trespass upon real property produced by voluntary act is absolute and does not have to be grounded in negligence so long as the act causing the trespass or invasion was intended. Brooks v. Ready Mix Concrete Co., 94 Ga. App. 791, 96 S.E.2d 213 (1956).

Section does not impose blanket rule or absolute liability on all trespassers.

- With the exception of the situation where a party is engaged in an abnormally dangerous activity, an unintentional and nonnegligent entry onto another's land does not automatically subject an individual to liability even though the entry causes harm to the possessor. C.W. Matthews Contracting Co. v. Wells, 147 Ga. App. 457, 249 S.E.2d 281 (1978).

Georgia recognizes distinction between willful trespasser, as against an innocent trespasser, one who believes one is right in entering the premises in question. C.W. Matthews Contracting Co. v. Wells, 147 Ga. App. 457, 249 S.E.2d 281 (1978).

Violation of this section or common law may arise if facts establish either that the defendants conspired as individuals to deprive the plaintiff of the plaintiff's protected property rights, or that all or some of the defendants acted as agents on behalf of their principal. Spencer v. Moore Bus. Forms, Inc., 441 F. Supp. 60 (N.D. Ga. 1977).

To maintain action for trespass or injury to realty, it is essential that plaintiff show either that the plaintiff was owner or was in possession at time of trespass. Palmer v. Pennington, 179 Ga. 76, 175 S.E. 380 (1934); Coleman v. Nail, 49 Ga. App. 51, 174 S.E. 178 (1934); James v. Riley, 181 Ga. 454, 182 S.E. 604 (1935); Smith v. Fischer, 52 Ga. App. 598, 184 S.E. 406 (1936); Southern Union Mut. Ins. Co. v. Mingledorff, 211 Ga. 514, 87 S.E.2d 54 (1955); Davis v. Palmer, 213 Ga. 862, 102 S.E.2d 478 (1958); Lyons v. Bassford, 242 Ga. 466, 249 S.E.2d 255 (1978).

When the plaintiff has legal title, even though out of possession, the plaintiff may maintain trespass. Williams v. Aycock, 52 Ga. App. 386, 183 S.E. 628 (1936), cert. dismissed, 183 Ga. 800, 189 S.E. 841 (1937).

Court erred in removing to federal court suit for damages and injuries occasioned by trespass by telegraph company and individual in running a wire over the plaintiff's roof and attaching it to the plaintiff's land. Belt v. Western Union Tel. Co., 63 Ga. App. 469, 11 S.E.2d 509 (1940).

Compensatory damages for trespass awarded by jury ($15,000) were excessive since only $40.00 actual pecuniary loss, resulting from the broken gate, was involved. Woodbury v. Whitmire, 246 Ga. 349, 271 S.E.2d 491 (1980).

Cited in Central R.R. v. Brinson, 70 Ga. 207 (1883); Austin v. Augusta Term. Ry., 108 Ga. 671, 34 S.E. 852, 47 L.R.A. 755 (1899); Luke v. DuPree, 158 Ga. 590, 124 S.E. 13 (1924); Rood v. Newman, 74 Ga. App. 686, 41 S.E.2d 183 (1947); Roughton v. Thiele Kaolin Co., 209 Ga. 577, 74 S.E.2d 844 (1953); Rhine v. Sanders, 100 Ga. App. 68, 110 S.E.2d 128 (1959); Nottingham v. Wrigley, 221 Ga. 386, 144 S.E.2d 749 (1965); Campbell v. Carroll, 121 Ga. App. 497, 174 S.E.2d 375 (1970); Brand v. Montega Corp., 233 Ga. 32, 209 S.E.2d 581 (1974); Brinkley & West, Inc. v. Foremost Ins. Co., 499 F.2d 928 (5th Cir. 1974); Baker v. Wilson, 143 Ga. App. 488, 238 S.E.2d 587 (1977); Pittman v. Cohn Communities, Inc., 240 Ga. 106, 239 S.E.2d 526 (1977); Walker v. GMC, 152 Ga. App. 526, 263 S.E.2d 266 (1979); Nestle Co. v. J.H. Ewing & Sons, 153 Ga. App. 328, 265 S.E.2d 61 (1980); Spencer v. Moore Bus. Forms, Inc., 87 F.R.D. 118 (N.D. Ga. 1980); Boss v. Bassett Indus. of N.C., Inc., 163 Ga. App. 246, 292 S.E.2d 885 (1982); Rabun v. Kimberly-Clark Corp., 678 F.2d 1053 (11th Cir. 1982); Vest v. Waring, 565 F. Supp. 674 (N.D. Ga. 1983); Rouse v. Crum, 169 Ga. App. 439, 313 S.E.2d 140 (1984); Roberts v. Southern Wood Piedmont Co., 173 Ga. App. 757, 328 S.E.2d 391 (1985); American Game & Music Serv., Inc. v. Knighton, 178 Ga. App. 745, 344 S.E.2d 717 (1986); Majik Mkt. v. Best, 684 F. Supp. 1089 (N.D. Ga. 1987); Miller v. Smith & Smith Land Surveyors, 194 Ga. App. 474, 391 S.E.2d 20 (1990); Artrac Corp. v. Austin Kelley Adv., Inc., 197 Ga. App. 772, 399 S.E.2d 529 (1990); Historic Macon Station Ltd. Partnership v. Piedmont-Forrest Corp., 152 Bankr. 358 (Bankr. M.D. Ga. 1993).

Applicability to Specific Cases

Architect may be liable for improper discharge of surface water, due to faulty design, from the client's property. Bodin v. Gill, 216 Ga. 467, 117 S.E.2d 325 (1960).

This state recognizes cause of action when one maliciously and wrongfully, and with intent to injure, harms the business of another. Wise v. State Bd. for Examination, Qualification & Registration of Architects, 247 Ga. 206, 274 S.E.2d 544 (1981), overruled in part by Innovative Clinical & Consulting Servs. v. First Nat'l Bank, 279 Ga. 672, 620 S.E.2d 352 (2005), appeal dismissed, 454 U.S. 804, 102 S. Ct. 76, 70 L. Ed. 2d 73 (1981).

Attempted wrongful foreclosure allegations did not state a claim for trespass under O.C.G.A. § 51-9-1 since the mortgagors did not allege property damage or an entry onto their property resulting from a mortgagee's initiation of foreclosure proceedings; therefore, the four-year limitations period under O.C.G.A. § 9-3-30 did not apply to the mortgagors' attempted wrongful disclosure claim arising from a 2001 foreclosure action, and the claim was time-barred. Hauf v. HomEq Servicing Corp., F. Supp. 2d (M.D. Ga. Feb. 9, 2007).

District court did not err in dismissing the debtor's wrongful foreclosure claim against the bank and a law firm without leave to amend because the debtor could no longer amend as a matter of course, and amending the complaint would be futile as the debtor alleged no facts suggesting that the bank did not have legal right to foreclose, and the record reflected that the bank, through the law firm, gave adequate notice so the debtor would not have been able to state a claim under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1692k, wrongful foreclosure claim, or trespass claim as each of those claims would have been predicated on improper foreclosure proceedings. Muhammad v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, NA, F.3d (11th Cir. May 29, 2014)(Unpublished).

Act is malicious when thing done is with knowledge of the plaintiff's rights, and with intent to interfere therewith. Wise v. State Bd. for Examination, Qualification & Registration of Architects, 247 Ga. 206, 274 S.E.2d 544, overruled in part by Innovative Clinical & Consulting Servs. v. First Nat'l Bank, 279 Ga. 672, 620 S.E.2d 352 (2005), appeal dismissed, 454 U.S. 804, 102 S. Ct. 76, 70 L. Ed. 2d 73 (1981).

The essential thing is the intent to cause the result. If the actor does not have this intent, the actor's conduct does not subject the actor to liability even if it has the unintended effect of deterring the third person from dealing with the other. Wise v. State Bd. for Examination, Qualification & Registration of Architects, 247 Ga. 206, 274 S.E.2d 544, overruled in part by Innovative Clinical & Consulting Servs. v. First Nat'l Bank, 279 Ga. 672, 620 S.E.2d 352 (2005), appeal dismissed, 454 U.S. 804, 102 S. Ct. 76, 70 L. Ed. 2d 73 (1981).

Term malicious or maliciously means any unauthorized interference, or any interference without legal justification or excuse. Personal ill will or animosity is not essential. Aetna Life Ins. Co. v. Harley, 365 F. Supp. 1210 (N.D. Ga. 1973).

Contractor for state engaged in work on public project is not liable for damage to private property resulting from work performed unless that damage results from the contractor's negligence or willful tort. C.W. Matthews Contracting Co. v. Wells, 147 Ga. App. 457, 249 S.E.2d 281 (1978).

Contractual right is right in rem, and parties to contract have property right in the agreement. Piedmont Cotton Mills, Inc. v. H.W. Ivey Constr. Co., 109 Ga. App. 876, 137 S.E.2d 528 (1964).

Contractor could have been liable in trespass.

- Summary judgment was not warranted on an owner's trespass claim because if the owner produced some evidence that a contractor had notice that a foreclosure was wrongful, then the contractor could have been liable for trespass under O.C.G.A. § 51-9-1. Santiago v. Cauley, F. Supp. 2d (S.D. Ga. Dec. 6, 2005).

One under duty to render performance has property interest in contract in that one has the right to render the required performance free from unjustified and unprivileged intentional invasions that retard performance or make the performance more difficult or expensive. Interference of that type constitutes an actionable tort which embraces within its scope all intentional invasions of contractual relations, including any act injuring or destroying property and so interfering with the performance itself, regardless of whether breach of contract is induced. Piedmont Cotton Mills, Inc. v. H.W. Ivey Constr. Co., 109 Ga. App. 876, 137 S.E.2d 528 (1964).

No action for interference with nonbinding oral contract.

- Borrowers were precluded from bringing an action against a bank for tortious interference with their contract to sell land to a prospective buyer when the alleged contract was an oral agreement which was not binding on the prospective buyer. Dickens v. Calhoun First Nat'l Bank, 189 Ga. App. 798, 377 S.E.2d 715 (1989).

Interference with contractual relations by third party, such as inducing one to breach one's contract with another, is an actionable tort for which the party guilty is liable in damages. Piedmont Cotton Mills, Inc. v. H.W. Ivey Constr. Co., 109 Ga. App. 876, 137 S.E.2d 528 (1964); Sheppard v. Post, 142 Ga. App. 646, 236 S.E.2d 680 (1977); McDaniel v. Green, 156 Ga. App. 549, 275 S.E.2d 124 (1980).

Intentional, nonprivileged interference by a third party with another's contractual rights and relations is actionable under Georgia law. Suber v. Bulloch County Bd. of Educ., 722 F. Supp. 736 (S.D. Ga. 1989).

It is actionable maliciously or without justifiable cause to induce one to break one's contract with another to the damage of the latter. The theory of this doctrine is that the parties to a contract have a property right therein, which a third party has no more right maliciously to deprive them of, or injure them in, than one would have to injure their property. Such an injury amounts to a tort for which the injured party may seek compensation by an action in tort for damages. Aetna Life Ins. Co. v. Harley, 365 F. Supp. 1210 (N.D. Ga. 1973).

County school board and its members could not be liable for tortious interference with a school teacher's contractual relations, when neither the board nor its members, who were sued only in their official capacities, were "third parties" to the teacher's contract. Suber v. Bulloch County Bd. of Educ., 722 F. Supp. 736 (S.D. Ga. 1989).

Tort of interference with contractual relations is not limited to procurement of breach of contract. Piedmont Cotton Mills, Inc. v. H.W. Ivey Constr. Co., 109 Ga. App. 876, 137 S.E.2d 528 (1964).

Interference with contractual right or relationship need not result in breach of contract to be actionable. It is sufficient if the invasion retards performance of the duties under the contract or makes the performance more difficult or expensive. McDaniel v. Green, 156 Ga. App. 549, 275 S.E.2d 124 (1980).

Evidence of interference with possessory interest required.

- Even though the wife of the seller had threatened the buyers with bodily harm, had gotten a temporary restraining order against their improvement of the property, and had caused them to be unable to convey good title to any potential purchaser of the property, there was no evidence that the seller's wife ever interfered with the buyers' possessory interest in the realty, and the trial court erred in concluding that the appellant had violated O.C.G.A. § 51-9-1. Hamil v. Stanford, 264 Ga. 801, 449 S.E.2d 118 (1994).

In a case in which a car buyer appealed a district court's entry of summary judgment in favor of the lender, the buyer's evidence did not give rise to a civil trespass claim under O.C.G.A. § 51-9-1. There was no showing that the lender interfered with the buyer's right to possession. Goia v. Citifinancial Auto, 499 Fed. Appx. 930 (11th Cir. Dec. 3, 2012)(Unpublished).

Interference with remainder interest.

- In a case in which (1) the United States brought a trespass claim against the resident on property owned by the United States and managed by the National Park Service; (2) the United States moved for a preliminary injunction; (3) O.C.G.A. § 51-9-1 defined trespass broadly; (4) the resident was bound by the restriction in the deed that the resident's right of construction was limited to a single-family residence; (5) the construction that defendant proposed to complete was spatially separate from the resident's house; and (6) the United States alleged that the construction prejudiced its remainder interest, the United States was likely to succeed on its claim for trespass. United States v. Jenkins, 714 F. Supp. 2d 1213 (S.D. Ga. 2008).

Noncompete clauses.

- When a former employer was required to obtain a court order enjoining a former employee from working for a competitor in violation of a noncompete agreement, any "interference" in the employee's enjoyment of the employee's contractual relations with another was not such an unauthorized act, or one without legal justification, so as to give rise to liability for interference with contract rights. Colquitt v. Network Rental, Inc., 195 Ga. App. 244, 393 S.E.2d 28 (1990).

If intentional interference is to be required, it presupposes knowledge of the plaintiff's interests or, at least, of facts that would lead a reasonable man to believe in their existence. Piedmont Cotton Mills, Inc. v. H.W. Ivey Constr. Co., 109 Ga. App. 876, 137 S.E.2d 528 (1964).

Malicious interference with right of named beneficiary to insurance proceeds would fall within scope of tortious interference with contractual relations. However, it does not necessarily follow that one commits a tort by filing a lawsuit, regardless of its merit, in which claims are made to insurance proceeds for which another is the named beneficiary. Aetna Life Ins. Co. v. Harley, 365 F. Supp. 1210 (N.D. Ga. 1973).

Employment is private property. Wiley v. Georgia Power Co., 134 Ga. App. 187, 213 S.E.2d 550 (1975), overruled on other grounds, Georgia Power Co. v. Busbin, 242 Ga. 612, 250 S.E.2d 442 (1978).

Individual's employment, trade, or calling is property right and the wrongful interference therewith is an actionable wrong. Georgia Power Co. v. Busbin, 145 Ga. App. 438, 244 S.E.2d 26, rev'd on other grounds, 242 Ga. 612, 250 S.E.2d 442 (1978).

Malicious interference with employment contract.

- In the consideration of a willful and malicious procurement of a breach of an employment contract, there are two categories of cases: (1) when there is a definite term of employment and the corporation or employer by discharging an employee would be liable for the breach of the employment contract; (2) when, even though the contract is terminable at will, a party with no authority to discharge the employee, being activated by an unlawful scheme or purpose to injure and damage the employee, maliciously and unlawfully persuades the employer to breach the contract with the employee. McElroy v. Wilson, 143 Ga. App. 893, 240 S.E.2d 155 (1977), cert. denied, 435 U.S. 931, 98 S. Ct. 1506, 55 L. Ed. 2d 528 (1978).

When the employment was terminable at will and the evidence clearly shows that the employee was discharged by one who had the authority to do so, the employee's allegations as to improper motive for firing and improper method of processing grievances are legally irrelevant and present no genuine issues of material fact. McElroy v. Wilson, 143 Ga. App. 893, 240 S.E.2d 155 (1977), cert. denied, 435 U.S. 931, 98 S. Ct. 1506, 55 L. Ed. 2d 528 (1978).

Trial court properly entered a judgment on the pleadings for a corporation on a president's intentional interference with an employment contract claim as the corporation owned a majority interest in a limited liability company employer and was not a stranger to the contract. Tidikis v. Network for Med. Communs. & Research, LLC, 274 Ga. App. 807, 619 S.E.2d 481 (2005).

Trial court properly entered a judgment on the pleadings for a corporation on a president's intentional interference claim as to the president's prospective employment with the prospective buyer of a limited liability company (LLC) as the president failed to show an employment offer from the buyer; the president's claim was predicated on the corporation's termination of the president from a job at the LLC and failed because the corporation was not a stranger to the employment contract. Tidikis v. Network for Med. Communs. & Research, LLC, 274 Ga. App. 807, 619 S.E.2d 481 (2005).

Right of attorney to practice law is property and the attorney is said to have a property interest in the attorney's fees and emoluments by the common law or by contract expressed or implied with the attorney's client. Studdard v. Evans, 108 Ga. App. 819, 135 S.E.2d 60 (1964).

Suit for trespass to realty failed after the plaintiff complained of a county code enforcement officer entering the plaintiff's property and taking photographs of the plaintiff's continued code violation of maintaining the plaintiff's junkyard of vehicles. Officer's actions were within the scope of the officer's official duties as a county code enforcement officer. Morton v. McCoy, 204 Ga. App. 595, 420 S.E.2d 40, cert. denied, 204 Ga. App. 922, 420 S.E.2d 40 (1992).

There was no basis for a homeowner's trespass claim against a real estate firm and two of the firm's agents. There was no evidence that the agents refused to leave the property after being asked to leave or that the agents interfered with the homeowner's possessory interest in the property. Udoinyion v. Re/Max, 289 Ga. App. 580, 657 S.E.2d 644 (2008), cert. denied, 2008 Ga. LEXIS 481 (Ga. 2008).

Homeowners' claim against paper mill for noxious odor was claim for nuisance, not trespass.

- Georgia's right to farm statute, O.C.G.A. § 41-1-7, barred the homeowners' nuisance claims against a recycled paper mill because the recycled paper was a "forest product" and the mill a "forest products processing plant" protected from liability by the statute; the noxious odor emitted as a byproduct of the plant was not a trespass. Ga.-Pac. Consumer Prods., LP v. Ratner, 345 Ga. App. 434, 812 S.E.2d 120 (2018), cert. denied, 2018 Ga. LEXIS 736, cert. denied, No. S18C1130, 2018 Ga. LEXIS 725 (Ga. 2018).

Home builder's right to exclude others from property.

- A home builder had the right to exclude a home inspector from trespassing on its properties and properly exercised that right by instructing the inspector not to enter its properties. Pope v. Pulte Home Corp., 246 Ga. App. 120, 539 S.E.2d 842 (2000).

Injuries caused by concussion resulting from dynamite blasting constitute trespass to realty, and one who voluntarily sets the force in motion is absolutely liable to the injured party, despite the exercise of due care. Berger v. Plantation Pipeline, Co., 121 Ga. App. 362, 173 S.E.2d 741 (1970).

Flooding after plugging of underground drainage pipe.

- In a suit involving two landowning couples, it was error to grant summary judgment to the second couple on the first couple's nuisance claim after the second couple plugged an underground drainage pipe. Taking an action that diverted excess water onto another's property could constitute a trespass. Merlino v. City of Atlanta, 283 Ga. 186, 657 S.E.2d 859 (2008).

Electromagnetic radiation.

- In an action against a utility and power company for damages on theories of trespass and nuisance arising from electromagnetic radiation, a grant of summary judgment on the trespass claim and directed verdict on the nuisance claim were proper for policy reasons since the scientific evidence was inconclusive regarding the invasive quality of magnetic fields from power lines. Jordan v. Georgia Power Co., 219 Ga. App. 690, 466 S.E.2d 601 (1995).

To enter dwelling house without license, is in law, a trespass. Collins v. Baker, 51 Ga. App. 669, 181 S.E. 425 (1935).

Mere entering or breaking into house occupied by another and taking possession of personalty therein belonging to occupant, is not necessarily trespass or a violation of the rights of the owner. Such acts, unless done without authority of law or contrary to some right of the owner, or without the owner's consent, constitute no tortious or actionable wrong. Beall v. King, 47 Ga. App. 502, 170 S.E. 896 (1933).

Landlord liable to tenant for trespass.

- Under this section, it has been held that a landlord was liable in an action by the tenant when the landlord removed cotton seed from the premises because the tenant failed to pay the charges therefor. Shores v. Brooks, 81 Ga. 468, 8 S.E. 429, 12 Am. St. R. 332 (1888).

Forcible eviction of tenant may constitute trespass by landlord.

- A malicious and forcible eviction of the tenant by the landlord, although under a warrant to dispossess regularly issued when the tenant has not breached the contract of rental and is entitled to the possession of the rented premises (and this is known to the landlord), when the tenant did not arrest the proceedings by counter affidavit because of inability to give the required bond, and there had been no suit terminated in favor of the tenant, constitutes a trespass against the tenant's right to possession for which the tenant has a cause of action sounding in tort against the landlord. Hall v. John Hancock Mut. Life Ins. Co., 50 Ga. App. 625, 179 S.E. 183 (1935).

Summary judgment for a lender in an owner's suit claiming that the lender trespassed on the owner's property was proper because the security deed provided that the lender was allowed to take action to preserve its interest in the property in the event of a default on the payments, and the owners admitted they were in default of those payments. Tacon v. Equity One, Inc., 280 Ga. App. 183, 633 S.E.2d 599 (2006).

Unauthorized intrusion of landlord on leased premises constitutes trespass even as against the tenant to the same extent as an entry or intrusion by a stranger. University Apts., Inc. v. Uhler, 84 Ga. App. 720, 67 S.E.2d 201 (1951).

Neighboring landowners' suit for trespass and negligence.

- Trial court properly denied a neighbor's motion for summary judgment and the appellate court reversed the denial of the cross-motion for summary judgment filed by the adjoining landowners in a trespass and negligence suit because the neighbor purchased property without first obtaining a survey and the adjoining landowners' home was already encroaching upon the neighbor's property by two feet at the time of the purchase; the adjoining landowners were not liable for their predecessor's conduct in building the house and a fence across the property line of the neighbor's predecessor in title, in the absence of evidence that their predecessor was acting as their agent, and were, therefore, entitled to summary judgment. Navajo Constr., Inc. v. Brigham, 271 Ga. App. 128, 608 S.E.2d 732 (2004).

Evidence was sufficient to support a finding that a willful trespass occurred when a neighbor directed the construction of a sewer lateral across an adjacent owner's property to tie into the owner's sewer line when the neighbor knew that the neighbor had neither a written easement nor permission from the owner to do so. LN West Paces Ferry Assocs., LLC v. McDonald, 306 Ga. App. 641, 703 S.E.2d 85 (2010).

Deed granted utility easement.

- Trial court erred in ordering the neighbors to remove the utility lines or obtain an easement to keep the lines in place because the landowner's deed from the predecessor stated that the landowner took the land subject to all easements for roads and utilities in use or of record and the easement for utilities was filed on August 16, 2006, years before the landowner's purchase of the property in 2017. Floyd v. Chapman, 353 Ga. App. 434, 838 S.E.2d 99 (2020).

Landowners repairing another party's dam.

- Landowners of lakefront property committed trespass when the landowners went onto a corporation's dam and plugged the weakened dam. Bishop Eddie Long Ministries, Inc. v. Dillard, 272 Ga. App. 894, 613 S.E.2d 673 (2005).

Award of $22,000 for trespass during survey not excessive.

- In a trespass counterclaim stemming from an unannounced survey by an adjacent land owner, a jury's award of $22,000 properly withstood motions for relief from the judgment because there was evidence to support the verdict and even if the award, which had not been specifically enumerated as general or nominal damages, was awarded as nominal damages, such damages could vary widely in Georgia and were not subject to being set aside based solely on the amount. Wright v. Wilcox, 262 Ga. App. 659, 586 S.E.2d 364 (2003).

Cutting down trees.

- The trial court erred in granting a directed verdict in favor of an engineering firm regarding the landowners' claim of trespass resulting from having trees cut from the landowners' property as the landowners' right to the enjoyment of the property was disturbed. Walls v. Moreland Altobelli Assocs., 290 Ga. App. 199, 659 S.E.2d 418 (2008).

Continued use of driveway constituted trespass.

- Trial court properly determined that the neighbors did not possess a prescriptive easement across the property since the property was wild and, consequently, the landowner had the right to exclude the neighbors from the property as the neighbors' continued use of the driveway constituted a trespass. Floyd v. Chapman, 353 Ga. App. 434, 838 S.E.2d 99 (2020).

Jury decides reasonableness of continuing intrusion.

- A store owner's claim that the defendant's failure to leave store premises immediately upon being asked to leave gave rise to a cause of action for trespass, and whether the defendant's remaining on the premises for upwards of four and a half minutes was a reasonable time was for the jury to decide. Bullock v. Jeon, 226 Ga. App. 875, 487 S.E.2d 692 (1997).

HOA's removal of homeowners' sign presented jury question.

- In a dispute involving a homeowners' association's (HOA) claim of a pedestrian easement access across a subdivision lot to a lake, the term "10' PEDESTRIAN ESMT" on the plat was void for uncertainty of description. The lot owners' counterclaims for trespass, theft by taking (for removal of a sign), interfering with the right of quiet enjoyment, attorney's fees, and punitive damages presented jury questions; however, their claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress was subject to summary judgment. The Plantation at Bay Creek Homeowners Association, Inc. v. Glasier, 349 Ga. App. 203, 825 S.E.2d 542 (2019).

Injury to estate held by landlord.

- The petition of the plaintiff, alleging title to a given tract of land in the plaintiff, unlawful cutting of trees thereon, and the plaintiff's unlawful ouster therefrom, set up a cause of action for injury to the plaintiff's freehold interest, although the plaintiff had rented the land to a tenant for the year in which the trespass was committed. Allen v. Potter, 153 Ga. 24, 111 S.E. 549 (1922).

It is invasion of plaintiff's property rights to run telegraph wire over the plaintiff's building and attach it to the plaintiff's land, and this is a trespass for which an action would lie. Belt v. Western Union Tel. Co., 63 Ga. App. 469, 11 S.E.2d 509 (1940).

Possession of land gave owners the right to sue telephone company for trespass.

- Landowners had the right to bring a trespass action against a utility company and the company's subcontractor for laying cable on the landowners' property without permission. Even if there was a deficiency in the landowners' title, their bare possession of the property was sufficient to support their claim pursuant to O.C.G.A. §§ 51-9-2 and51-9-3. Lee v. Southern Telecom Co., 303 Ga. App. 642, 694 S.E.2d 125 (2010).

Entering land wrongfully and cutting timber from land would be trespass. and this is so whether the trespassers are acting for themselves or as agents for another. Both the principal and the agents would be liable in a proper case. Gloss v. Jacobs, 86 Ga. App. 161, 71 S.E.2d 253 (1952).

Interference with license to cut timber.

- An employee of one who purchases standing timber may maintain an action against the vendor, if the latter refuses to permit the employee to enter on the land. Daniel v. Perkins Logging Co., 9 Ga. App. 842, 72 S.E. 438 (1911); Hughes v. Bivins, 31 Ga. App. 198, 121 S.E. 590 (1923).

When one causes levy to be made in property in possession of and belonging to person not the defendant without probable cause, one is trespasser even though the levy was directed by one's attorney and if the attorney causes such levy to be made without probable cause, one is a joint trespasser with one's client. Orr v. Floyd, 95 Ga. App. 401, 97 S.E.2d 920 (1957).

Person whose property was levied on under execution against another may sue for damages on account of trespass, independently of the technical rules controlling cases of malicious use or abuse of legal process, and without the necessity of first filing a claim and obtaining a favorable decision thereon, and although a petition may contain language appropriate to an action for malicious use of process, the action will not be dismissed on general demurrer (now motion to dismiss) because of failure to allege a favorable conclusion of the levy proceeding, when, considered as a whole, it may properly be construed as an action for trespass. Baldwin v. Davis, 188 Ga. 587, 4 S.E.2d 458 (1939).

Plaintiff whose property is sold at marshal's sale, which was void because based on excessive levy can maintain action for trespass against one committing a trespass against one's title and right to possession. Williams v. Aycock, 52 Ga. App. 386, 183 S.E. 628 (1936), cert. dismissed, 183 Ga. 809, 189 S.E. 841 (1937).

Landlord's interference with tenant's use.

- When the plaintiff alleged a right of use and possession as tenant of certain premises, and a willful and wanton violation of this right by the defendant, one's landlord, in tearing down the porch and steps at the entrance to the premises, thereby requiring one to use a ladder in order to enter and leave the premises, though no actual injury to one's purse or person is shown, this trespass interfered with one's enjoyment of the use and possession, and caused one to suffer inconvenience, humiliation, and embarrassment, and the petition sets forth a cause of action as against a general demurrer (now motion to dismiss). Ivey v. Davis, 81 Ga. App. 598, 59 S.E.2d 256 (1950).

Landlord's fencing off of rear of leased premises, thereby restricting service station tenant's access to a fuel tank and storage room, presented a question of fact as to whether the landlord's actions interfered with the tenant's complete enjoyment of the premises for the purposes for which the premises were leased. Lewis v. Rickenbaker, 174 Ga. App. 371, 330 S.E.2d 140 (1985).

Unemployment compensation.

- No cause of action exists for "tortious interference with one's claim for unemployment compensation," in part because the inchoate expectation of receiving unemployment compensation benefits prior to a final determination of eligibility does not constitute a vested property right, generally, and in part because to allow such a cause of action would render illusory the finality afforded administrative determinations. Miles v. Bibb Co., 177 Ga. App. 364, 339 S.E.2d 316 (1985).

Malicious interference with real estate contract.

- To recover in an action against a real estate agent for interfering with a contract to sell a home, the potential vendor must show that the real estate agent maliciously and without justifiable cause induced or procured the potential vendees to break their contract with the vendor, and thereby damaged the vendor. Combs v. Edenfield, 184 Ga. App. 75, 360 S.E.2d 743 (1987).

Lender's recordation of an erroneous security deed did not constitute unlawful interference with two cotenants' realty since there was no evidence that the lender ever interfered with the cotenants' possessory interests in the realty and the error in the security deed had no legal effect whatsoever on the cotenants' actual title to the property. Tower Fin. Servs., Inc. v. Mapp, 198 Ga. App. 563, 402 S.E.2d 286 (1991).

Bank did not interfere with marital property interest.

- There was no basis for a claim that the bank interfered with the wife's interest in or possession of the former marital residence since the wife's loss of property rights in the foreclosure by the new lender was not the result of any action taken by the bank, but was caused when, against the advice of her attorney, the wife waived her rights and voluntarily agreed to the substitution of the mortgage in favor of the new lender. Watson v. Wachovia Nat'l Bank, 207 Ga. App. 780, 429 S.E.2d 111 (1993).

Request for lender's representatives to leave not shown.

- In a case in which a car buyer appealed a district court's entry of summary judgment in favor of the lender, the buyer's evidence did not give rise to a civil trespass claim under O.C.G.A. § 51-9-1. There was no evidence that the lender's representatives did not leave when requested to do so or that the buyer asked the lender's representative to leave. Goia v. Citifinancial Auto, 499 Fed. Appx. 930 (11th Cir. Dec. 3, 2012)(Unpublished).

Trespass based on foreclosure.

- After the mortgage lender's affiliate foreclosed the debtor's property but the lender, not the affiliate, was the holder of a security deed, there was a genuine issue of material fact as to whether the affiliate was liable to the debtor for causing the successful bidder's entry and possession of property which the debtor still held title to and which neither the affiliate, the affiliate's counsel, nor the bidder had a right to enter. McDaniel v. SunTrust Bank (In re McDaniel), 523 Bankr. 895 (Bankr. M.D. Ga. 2014).

Authority of sheriff to invite individuals onto private land.

- Trial court improperly granted summary judgment to a television station in a trespass case; it was for the jury to decide whether station personnel reasonably believed that a county sheriff had authority to invite them onto the property in question to report on the execution of a search warrant. Nichols v. Ga. TV Co., 250 Ga. App. 789, 552 S.E.2d 550 (2001).

Arrestee failed to state a trespass claim against arresting officers because the officers were acting within the officers' official capacities at the time of the arrest. Lavassani v. City of Canton, 760 F. Supp. 2d 1346 (N.D. Ga. 2010).

No trespass shown in case involving burial urn.

- Trial court properly found there was no claim for trespass against a funeral director because there was no evidence that the director refused to leave the plaintiff's house or realty after being asked to leave, or that the director interfered with the plaintiff's possessory interest in the urn containing the ashes of the decedent. Justice v. SCI Ga. Funeral Servs., 329 Ga. App. 635, 765 S.E.2d 778 (2014).

Officers entitled to immunity for trespass.

- Under the Georgia Constitution, state officials are entitled to official immunity for their discretionary actions unless the officials acted with "actual malice" or an "actual intent to cause injury." The plaintiffs argument that the deputies' entry was so unlawful that it raised an inference of actual malice was rejected as the deputies observed a torn screen, found a door unlocked, and believed that the residence may have been burglarized thereby justifying the trespass. Black v. Wigington, 811 F.3d 1259 (11th Cir. 2016).


Am. Jur. 2d.

- 74 Am. Jur. 2d, Torts, § 40. 75 Am. Jur. 2d, Trespass, §§ 4 et seq., 18 et seq., 24 et seq.

Tortious Interference with Contractual Relationship Involving Sale of Real Estate, 64 POF3d 273.


- 86 C.J.S., Torts, § 77. 87 C.J.S., Trespass, §§ 2, 8, 16 et seq.


- Authority from public official as affecting responsibility of public service corporation for infringing property rights, 1 A.L.R. 403.

Depreciation in market value of land as affecting the general rule that cause of action arises when injury is inflicted, and not when cause is created, 3 A.L.R. 682.

Rights and remedies of tenant who remains in possession of all or part of the premises against landlord for interfering with his possession or enjoyment, 20 A.L.R. 1369; 28 A.L.R. 1333; 64 A.L.R. 900.

Injunction against interference with property as conversion thereof, 34 A.L.R. 726.

Remedy of mortgagee or other holder of lien on real property against third person for damage to or trespass on property, 37 A.L.R. 1120.

Jurisdiction of action at law for damages for tort concerning real property in another state or country, 42 A.L.R. 196; 30 A.L.R.2d 1219.

Liability of one on whose property accidental fire originates for damages from spread thereof, 42 A.L.R. 783; 111 A.L.R. 1140; 17 A.L.R.5th 547.

Liability of landlord for interfering with tenants of lessee, 70 A.L.R. 1477.

Duty of federal courts to follow state court decisions as regards torts affecting real property, 71 A.L.R. 1102.

Measure of owner's damages for temporary appropriation of or injury to real property by municipality or other public authority, 87 A.L.R. 1384.

Liability of officer charged with duty of keeping record of instruments affecting title to or interest in property for mistakes or defects in respect to records, 94 A.L.R. 1303.

Dispossession without legal process by one entitled to possession of real property as ground of action, other than for recovery of possession or damage to his person, by person dispossessed, 101 A.L.R. 476.

Liability for punitive or exemplary damages or statutory penalty or one intentionally or negligently starting fire which caused an injury to person or property, 104 A.L.R. 412.

Applicability of statutes providing for multiple damages or penalty for wrongful trespass as affected by the defendant's purpose or intent, 111 A.L.R. 79.

Construction and application of statute providing for multiple damages for ejection from real estate, 126 A.L.R. 127.

Rights and remedies in case of encroachment of trees, shrubbery, or other vegetation across boundary line, 128 A.L.R. 1221.

Right of licensee of real property to injunction against, or damages for, trespass by third person, 139 A.L.R. 1204.

Liability of owner of standing timber or timber rights for damages to the owner of the land in connection with the cutting and removal of the timber by the former or his servant, or by an independent contractor, 151 A.L.R. 636.

Right of vendee under executory contract to bring action against third person for damage to land, 151 A.L.R. 938.

Liability of irrigation district for damages, 160 A.L.R. 1165.

Implied contract in case of trespass upon real property, 167 A.L.R. 796.

Jurisdiction of action at law for damages for tort concerning real property in another state or country, 30 A.L.R.2d 1219.

Casting of light on another's premises as constituting actionable wrong, 5 A.L.R.2d 705.

Tenant's or subtenant's right to damages for claimed constructive eviction or breach of covenant based upon notice to tenant to vacate or other termination notice, 14 A.L.R.2d 1450.

Liability of one selling or distributing liquid or bottled fuel gas, for personal injury, death, or property damage, 17 A.L.R.2d 888; 41 A.L.R.3d 782.

Liability for property damage by concussion from blasting, 20 A.L.R.2d 1372.

Judgment for insurer who paid property damage as bar to another action against same tort-feasor by owner or another subrogated insurer for additional property damage arising from same tort, and vice versa, 22 A.L.R.2d 1455.

Liability for overflow or escape of water from excavation made in course of construction, 23 A.L.R.2d 827.

Mandatory injunction to compel removal of encroachments by adjoining landowner, 28 A.L.R.2d 679.

Liability of landowner for damages caused by overflow, seepage, or the like resulting from defect in artificial underground drain, conduit or pipe, 44 A.L.R.2d 960.

Measure and elements of damages for pollution of a stream, 49 A.L.R.2d 253.

Life tenant's right of action for injury or damage to property, 49 A.L.R.2d 1117.

Liability of public utility to abutting owner for destruction or injury of trees in or near highway or street, 64 A.L.R.2d 866.

Right to recover attorney's fees for wrongful attachment, 65 A.L.R.2d 1426.

Recovery for unauthorized geophysical or seismograph exploration or survey, 67 A.L.R.2d 444.

Liability for property damage caused by vibrations, or the like, without blasting or explosion, 79 A.L.R.2d 966.

Liability of excavators for damages to noncoterminous tract from removal of lateral support, 87 A.L.R.2d 710.

Municipal liability for property damage under mob violence statutes, 26 A.L.R.3d 1198.

Landowner's right to relief against pollution of his water supply by industrial or commercial waste, 39 A.L.R.3d 910.

Liability of governmental entity for issuance of permit for construction which caused or accelerated flooding, 62 A.L.R.3d 514.

Liability of one excavating in highway for injury to public utility cables, conduits, or the like, 73 A.L.R.3d 987.

Airport operations or flight of aircraft as nuisance, 79 A.L.R.3d 253.

Modern status of rules governing interference with drainage of surface waters, 93 A.L.R.3d 1193.

Recovery in trespass for injury to land caused by airborne pollutants, 2 A.L.R.4th 1054.

Zoning regulations limiting use of property near airport as taking of property, 18 A.L.R.4th 542.

Airport operations or flight of aircraft as constituting taking or damaging of property, 22 A.L.R.4th 863.

Encroachment of trees, shrubbery, or other vegetation across boundary line, 65 A.L.R.4th 603.

Tort liability for pollution from underground storage tank, 5 A.L.R.5th 1.

State and local government control of pollution from underground storage tanks, 11 A.L.R.5th 388.

Liability for spread of fire intentionally set for legitimate purpose, 25 A.L.R.5th 391.

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