My neighbor dug up some of my shrubs and flowers. Can I recover damages from him/her?

Yes. In fact, your neighbor can be liable for three times the value of your plants, even if her actions were accidental. If your neighbor intended to enter your property to dig up the plants, she also committed a trespass. A trespass is entering another person’s property without permission. Trespasses include things such as walking through someone’s yard, throwing things onto someone’s property, or even putting an arm over a property line without permission. A person can be liable for trespass regardless of whether any damage was done to the property. If the trespass was done with malice or aggression, the victim may be able to recover punitive damages as well.  

For more information, see: W. Va. Code § 61-3-48a (2014); W. Va. Code § 61-3B-1(8) (2013); Jopling v. Bluefield Water Works & Improvement Co., 70 W. Va. 670, 74 S.E. 943 (1911); Chesser ex rel. Hadley v. Hathaway, 190 W. Va. 594, 439 S.E.2d 459 (1993); Bullman v. D & R Lumber Co., 195 W. Va. 129, 464 S.E.2d 771 (1995); 18 Michie’s Jurisprudence Trespass § 2, 25 (2009); Doyle, D., Smith, D., Ferrise, A., Real Property: Landowners’ Rights and Responsibilities in West Virginia, (last visited June 15, 2015).