Veiseh v. Stapp

Facts: A property owner transfers title to a parcel of property to a custodian for the benefit of the owner’s minor child. As required by the terms of the transfer and appointment of the custodian, the property is to be held for the use and benefit of the minor. However, the owner maintains possession of the property for their own benefit. A neighbor’s cattle causes damage to the property and the owner sues the neighbor for trespass.

Claim: The neighbor seeks to avoid paying for the damage caused by their cattle, claiming the owner may not sue for trespass since the owner no longer held title to the property and was in violation of the terms of the transfer.

Counterclaim: The owner seeks money losses for the damage caused by the cattle from the neighbor, claiming the owner may recover damages for trespass since they are in actual possession of the property and noncompliance with the terms of the transfer does not bar their recovery.

Holding: A California appeals court holds the owner may sue for trespass since legal ownership of the property is not required as long as the owner is in actual possession of the property, and the owner’s noncompliance with the transfer does not preclude them from seeking recovery. [Veiseh v. Stapp (June 6, 2019)­_CA6th_]

Read the case text.