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Construction of fence is actionable tort

December 6, 2011

The Indiana Court of Appeals has reversed the trial court in a land dispute case involving two companies.

In Indiana Regional Recycling, Inc.v. Belmont Industrial, Inc., No. 49A02-1103-PL-263, Indiana Regional Recycling and Belmont Industrial own adjoining parcels of land, known as parcels I, II and III. Belmont owns parcels I and III, and Indiana Regional owns parcel II. A gravel pathway running through parcel I allows access to parcel II.

Indiana Regional leased parcel II to a tenant. Belmont built a fence on parcel I, preventing the tenant from accessing parcel II and thereby causing Indiana Regional to breach its contract with the tenant.

The COA held that intentional interference with a contract is an actionable tort. It concluded that the trial court erred in granting Belmont’s cross-motion for partial summary judgment and motion for summary judgment based on its findings that Indiana Regional did not have an easement on Belmont’s property implied by necessity. The COA also held the trial court erred in granting Belmont’s motion for summary judgment based on its finding that Belmont did not commit tortious interference with Indiana Regional’s contract with its tenant.

The appellate court remanded to the trial court for proceedings consistent with its opinion.
 

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