53 N.H. 442 (1873)

One-Sentence Takeaway:  A person whose horses, frightened by a locomotive, became uncontrollable, ran away with him, went upon land of another, and broke a post there, is not liable for the damage if it was not caused by any fault on his part.

Summary: Defendant’s horses became frightened and escaped causing damage to Plaintiff’s land. Defendant did not act out of malice and was not unreasonably negligent.

The issue presented to the court was whether a landowner is liable for damages caused by something escaping from his land where he has not acted intentionally or negligently.

The court answered in the negative.  The court reasoned that imposing liability for natural consequences arising from the escape of anything brought on land would hinder progress and improvement. Anything brought onto one’s property is capable of escape and it is unreasonable to expect the landowner to be responsible for everything.

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