You Be the Judge!
The Cave Owner’s Dilemma – Amanda runs a cave-tour business. Not a big moneymaker, but she does all right. There’s a gift shop. A snack bar. She gets a lot of church groups. Anyway, here’s what matters: The entrance to the cave is on Amanda’s property. The cave itself, though, is underneath Joe’s property. Joe sues Amanda for trespass. Who wins?
Historical Verdict: In Marengo Cave Company v. Ross, the court found this to be trepass. So nobody could use the cave! Amanda could look into the cave on her property, but couldn’t go down into it. Joe couldn’t get into the cave, but had the right to be down inside it if he could get there. Law professors call this a bilateral monopoly. We call it the waste of a good cave.