Weinman v. De Palma - 232 U.S. 571 (1914)


U.S. Supreme Court

Weinman v. De Palma, 232 U.S. 571 (1914)

Weinman v. De Palma

No. 173

Argued January 20, 1914

Decided February 24, 1914

232 U.S. 571

Syllabus

Where the owner of demised premises makes a contract with an adjoining owner for construction of a party wall, which contract cannot be carried out according to its terms without entry upon the demised premises and undermining the tenant's wall, and the adjoining owner, or his servants, in performing the contract, commit such a trespass upon the tenant's possession and undermine the wall, the contract is evidential of a command or approval of the trespass by the landlord such as to render him liable severally, or jointly with the adjoining owner, in an action by the tenant for the resulting damages.

Where a trespass results in the destruction of a building with consequent interruption of a going business, the loss of future profits --

Page 232 U. S. 572

reasonably certain and proved with reasonable exactitude -- is a proper element for consideration in awarding compensatory damages.

Where the contractor is required to follow instructions of the owner, he is not such an independent contractor a to relieve the owner of liability for his acts.

The "independent contractor" doctrine does not apply where the work that the contractor does amounts, in itself, to a nuisance or necessarily operates to destroy the property of another.

16 N.M. 302 affirmed.

The facts are stated in the opinion.



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