Is a Person Who Authorizes a Trespass Liable for Damages Caused Even Though He Does Not Benefit from It ?
In Miller v. Simon, 100 Ill. App. 2d 6, 241 N.E.2d 697 (1968), the appellate court upheld a finding that the defendants, officers of a real estate development firm, were personally liable for trespass to the plaintiff's land. the defendants were developing land contiguous to the plaintiff's when they entered her property and removed topsoil.
The court said:
"One who orders, aids, directs, abets, or assists the commission of a trespass is liable for the resultant damages, even if such an individual did not benefit from the trespass.
The two officers are not insulated from liability for the tortious acts of the defendant since it has been well established that an officer of a private corporation is liable for any tort of the corporation in which he participates or authorizes, even though he was acting for the corporation in the commission of the tortious activity.
There was ample evidence that the defendant Isidor Simon, doing business as I. Simon & Son, a sole proprietorship at the time of the trespass, directed some or all of the improvements for the development.
He admitted that he personally instructed the engineers in the removal of trees in the area.
The defendant Ned Simon testified that he knew that the topsoil had been removed and that he even knew where the plaintiff's removed topsoil was stockpiled." Miller, 100 Ill. App. 2d at 9-10.