California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI)

2004. Intentional Entry Explained

[An entry is intentional if a person knowingly goes onto the property of another or knowingly causes something to go onto that property.]

[An entry is [also] intentional if a person engages in conduct that is substantially certain to cause something to go onto that property.]

[An entry is [also] intentional even if a person mistakenly thinks he or she has a right to come onto that property.]

New September 2003

Directions for Use

This instruction is not intended for general use in every case. Read a bracketed sentence or sentences only in unusual cases where an issue regarding the entry is raised and further explanation is required.

Sources and Authority

  • “The doing of an act which will to a substantial certainty result in the entry of foreign matter upon another’s land suffices for an intentional trespass to land upon which liability may be based. It was error to instruct the jury that an ‘intent to harm’ was required.” (Roberts v. Permanente Corp. (1961) 188 Cal.App.2d 526, 530—531 [10 Cal.Rptr. 519], internal citation omitted.)
  • An instruction on the definition of intentional trespass is considered a proper statement of law. Failure to give this instruction on request where appropriate is error. (Staples v. Hoefke (1987) 189 Cal.App.3d 1397, 1407 [235 Cal.Rptr. 165].)
  • “As Prosser and Keeton on Torts . . . explained, ‘[t]he intent required as a basis for liability as a trespasser is simply an intent to be at the place on the land where the trespass allegedly occurred … The defendant is liable for an intentional entry although he has acted in good faith, under the mistaken belief, however reasonable, that he is committing no wrong.’ ” (Miller v. National Broadcasting Corp. (1986) 187 Cal.App.3d 1463, 1480—1481 [232 Cal.Rptr. 668], internal citation omitted.)

Secondary Sources

5 Witkin, Summary of California Law (10th ed. 2005) Torts, §§ 663, 664

2 Levy et al., California Torts, Ch. 17, Nuisance and Trespass, § 17.20[3] (Matthew Bender)

48 California Forms of Pleading and Practice, Ch. 550, Trespass, § 550.15 (Matthew Bender)

22 California Points and Authorities, Ch. 225, Trespass, § 225.40 (Matthew Bender)

1 California Civil Practice: Torts (Thomson West) § 18:4