CACI No. 2004. “Intentional Entry” Explained

Judicial Council of California Civil Jury Instructions (2023 edition)

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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 intentional if a person engages in conduct that is
substantially certain to cause something to go onto that property.]
[Intent to trespass means only that a person intended to be in the
particular location where the trespass is alleged to have occurred. An
entry is intentional even if the person reasonably but mistakenly thought
that the person had a right to come onto that property.]
An intent to do harm to the property or to the owner is not required.
New September 2003; Revised June 2013, May 2020
Directions for Use
This instruction is not intended for general use in every case. Give one of the three
bracketed options if an issue regarding the intent of the entry is raised and further
explanation is required. The third option should be given if the entry could appear
to the jury to be unintentional, such as if the defendant was not aware that the
defendant was trespassing. (See Miller v. National Broadcasting Corp. (1986) 187
Cal.App.3d 1463, 1480-1481 [232 Cal.Rptr. 668].)
Sources and Authority
“The doing of an act which will to a substantial certainty result in the entry of
foreign matter upon anothers 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,supra, 187
Cal.App.3d at pp. 1480-1481, internal citation omitted.)
“Intent to cause damage was not, however, an element of [trespass] and . . . the
trespasser was liable for such damage as he caused even though that damage
was not intended or foreseen by him.” (Meyer v. Pacific Employers Ins. Co.
(1965) 233 Cal.App.2d 321, 326 [43 Cal.Rptr. 542].)
Secondary Sources
2 Levy et al., California Torts, Ch. 17, Nuisance and Trespass, § 17.20[3] (Matthew
48 California Forms of Pleading and Practice, Ch. 550, Trespass, § 550.15 (Matthew
22 California Points and Authorities, Ch. 225, Trespass, § 225.40 (Matthew Bender)
California Civil Practice: Torts § 18:4 (Thomson Reuters)

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