ANSWER TORTS ESSAY ONE
Farmer v. Pilot
Trespass to land. Farmer will assert a claim for damages to his farmland
caused by Pilot’s emergency landing under the intentional tort of trespass
to land. This claim will be successful if Farmer can establish that Pilot
committed the following requisite elements of the tort: a voluntary entry
onto the plaintiff’s land committed with the intent to enter the land of
another. There is no question that Pilot entered land belonging to the
plaintiff (Farmer), so the only issues here are whether the entry was both
voluntary and intentional.
Voluntary. Here, Pilot’s decision to land the plane although
“forced” by circumstances, was still a choice. She guided the
plane into the landing on Farmer’s field rather than onto other
property that had trees or homes. Thus, her act should be
considered to be voluntary.
Intentional. The intent element requires only a showing that the
defendant intended the act that results in the entry onto the land of
another, not that the defendant desired or even knew that the land
entered belonged to another. The fact that Pilot may have thought
the land was vacant and not owned by Farmer is no defense
because mistake as to ownership of land is no defense to trespass
to land. The elements of trespass to land are present, but Farmer
will be denied recovery if any defenses to this tort exist.
Necessity defense. The defense of necessity exists if the defendant
acts out of public or private necessity to avoid some greater harm.
When the defendant acts to prevent substantial public harm, the
defense of public necessity exists and excuses the defendant from
both the trespass to land tort and for any liability for damage
caused to the plaintiff’s land. However, where the threatened harm
is not one of substantial public harm but some lesser harm, the
defense of private necessity applies. Under this defense, the
defendant will be liable for any...