Elkanah Hill (plaintiff) owned a large farm where he had resided for many years. Carolina, Clinchfield & Ohio Railway (Carolina) (defendant) was constructing a railroad near Hill’s property. At the same time, Yellow Poplar Lumber Company (Yellow Poplar) was working to remove large quantities of lumber from the same area. Hill contended that Carolina’s activities caused great damage to his property. Hill brought suit against Carolina, and the trial court awarded Hill $2,000 in damages. Carolina objected, arguing that it was Yellow Poplar’s activity that caused most of the damage. Carolina contended that it should be liable only for the damage that it caused. The case was brought to the state supreme court.