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Thomas v. Harrah's Vicksburg Corp.

734 So.2d 312 (1999)

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Thomas v. Harrah’s Vicksburg Corp.

Mississippi Court of Appeals

734 So.2d 312 (1999)

Facts

C.N. Thomas (plaintiff) filed suit against Harrah’s Vicksburg Corporation (Harrah’s) (defendant) and its building contractor, W.G. Yates & Sons (Yates) (defendant), alleging that while the defendants were building a casino on a vacant lot next to Thomas’s store, Surplus City, U.S.A., Inc. (Surplus) (plaintiff), they trespassed on his property. At trial, the defendants offered evidence that they took reasonable precautions to avoid entering Thomas's land while building their casino but due to the close proximity of the construction project to the adjoining property line with Surplus, trespass was inevitable. Charles Wells, Harrah’s construction manager, and Jim Smith, the construction superintendent for Yates, each testified that during the construction project they took great pains to erect scaffolding to avoid trespassing on the Surplus property, but nevertheless, the defendants regularly trespassed in order to move construction of the casino along. The trial court found that Harrah's hadn't trespassed, but Yates had. Based on Yates's trespass, the court awarded $3,000 in damages. The plaintiffs appealed, seeking higher damages. On appeal, the defendants argued that proof of negligence was required for the plaintiffs to prevail.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Payne, J.)

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