Trespass On The Case – action to recover damages which occurred as a consequence for another’s action or inaction such as negligence, fraud, slander, deceit, omissions, etc.

trespass on the case:

1. At common law, a lawsuit to recover damages that are not the immediate result of a wrongful act but rather a later consequence.  The lawsuit was instituted by a writ of trespass on the case.  It was the precursor to a variety of modern-day tort claims, including negligence, nuisance, & business torts. — Often shortened to case. — aka action on the case; breve de transgressione super casum. [1]

     Excerpt from Edwin E. Bryant’s The Law of Pleading Under the Codes of Civl Procedure (2d ed. 1899):

     “The most important of the writs framed under the authority of the statute of Westminster 2 is that of ‘trespass on the case’, to meet cases analogous to trespass in delict, but lacking the element of direct or immediate force or violence. This writ gave a form of action in which the court was enabled to render judgment of damages in cases of fraud, deceit, negligence, want of skill, defamation oral or written, & all other injurious acts or omissions resulting in harm to person or property, but wanting the vi et armis (“with force & arms”), the element of direct force & violence, to constitute trespass.” [2]

     Another excerpt from Edwin E. Bryant’s The Law of Pleading Under the Codes of Civl Procedure (2d ed. 1899):

     “Common law recognizes a distinction between the actions of trespass vi et armis (or simply trespass) and trespass on the case.  This distinction has been expressed by stating that a tort committed by the direct application of force is remediable by an action for trespass, while a tort accomplished indirectly is a matter for trespass on the case.  Other authority makes the distinction on the basis of the defendant’s intent, stating that trespass involves a willful and deliberate act while trespass on the case contemplates an act or omission resulting from negligence.” [2]


Disclaimer: All material throughout this website is pertinent to people everywhere, and is being utilized in accordance with Fair Use.

[1]: Black’s Law Dictionary Deluxe Tenth Edition by Henry Campbell Black, Editor in Chief Bryan A. Garner. ISBN: 978-0-314-61300-4

[2]:  Edwin E. Bryant, The Law of Pleading Under the Codes of Civl Procedure 7 (2d ed. 1899)

To be Added:

[2]:  Ballantine’s Law Dictionary Legal Assistant Edition
by Jack Ballantine 
(James Arthur 1871-1949).  Doctored by Jack G. Handler, J.D. © 1994 Delmar by Thomson Learning.  ISBN 0-8273-4874-6.

[3]: Ballantine’s Law Dictionary with Pronunciations
Third Edition
 by James A. Ballantine (James Arthur 1871-1949).  Edited by William S. Anderson.  © 1969 by THE LAWYER’S CO-OPERATIVE PUBLISHING COMPANY.  Library of Congress Catalog Card No. 68-30931


Back to Types of Actions

Intro to U.S. Law

Legal Precepts Adopted (from Europe) into The U.S. Constitution

§ § of Law Embedded into the Constitution Pursuant to the American Revolution

Indian Country Law

Federal Rules of Procedure

Like this website?

Please Support Our Fundraiser

or donate via PayPal:

  • please set some widgets to show from Appearance -> Widgets.

Disclaimer: Wild Willpower does not condone the actions of Maximilian Robespierre, however the above quote is excellent!

This website is being broadcast for First Amendment purposes courtesy of

Question(s)?  Suggestion(s)?
We look forward to hearing from you!