Keeble v. Hickeringill
Queen's Bench, England - 1707
- P placed decoy ducks in his pond in order to lure ducks to the pond. P would then kill and take the ducks for his use.
- D attempted to interfere with P's use of his land by loading and firing his guns close to P's property, which scared away the ducks.
- P sued D for damages.
- Trial court found for P.
- Queen's Bench affirmed, found for P.
- May a party maliciously interfere with another's legal use of his property?
- A party may not maliciously interfere with another's legal use of his property.
- P was allowed to use decoys on his land to hunt ducks. D interfered with P's lawful use of his property and should be compensated.
- If D had placed decoy ducks on his own property and lured away ducks from P's property, this would be lawful since there was no maliciousness or violence.
- Lawful interference (competition) is valid; malicious interference is not.