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Property I
Southern Illinois University School of Law
Lindsey, R. Hokulei

PROPERTY I OUTLINE – FALL 2007
 
 
 
HOW DO THINGS COME TO BE OWNED?
1.      Rule of Capture – Pierson v. Post – Wild Animals
a.       1st person to kill or capture wild animal acquires title to it(on neutral ground)
                                                              i.      Capture: Actual Killing, Catching, Mortally Wounding, Effectively Trapping
1.      Pursuit is not possession
                                                            ii.      Animal is in “certain control” of hunter
1.      Gives notice to whole world (clear)
                                                          iii.      Dissent: Ask hunters how to resolve problem (Livingston)
1.      Will have more knowledge, custom, pursuit is possession
                                                          iv.      If own land, own wild animal on land – have to make ownership known to world
1.      No one owns wild animal in natural habitat
                                                            v.      Savages – aren’t encouraged – 1st person to have possession, owns it
2.      Possession as Origin of Property (Rose)
a.       Possession: A clear act, whereby all the world understands that the pursuer has “an unequivocal intention of appropriating the animal to his individual use”
                                                              i.      Requires ongoing communication – keep making ownership known to others
1.      All must understand language – affirmative act to claim title
a.       To avoid adverse possession
2.      Problems – different interpretations of ‘clear act’, costly
b.      Reward hunter for labor expended (Locke)
                                                              i.      Owner get prize for labor and making ownership known
1.      Rewarded for putting property to use
                                                            ii.      Individuals have right to appropriate for their own exclusive benefit the fruits of their labors (Indians didn’t labor over land)
3.      Ownership by Discovery – Johnson v. McIntosh – land titles, Indians
a.       First in time – being there first justifies ownership rights
b.      Doctrine of Discovery
                                                              i.      First to discover owned – otherwise chaos, no one would know who owned what
c.       Indians never really owned land – used as common but didn’t establish ownership
                                                              i.      All titles were owned by US gov’t, starting point for possession of land
d.      Hypo – Russia flag on ocean floor:
                                                              i.      Apply Pierson: Rule of capture, Apply Rule of discovery
 
GIFTS
1.      Gift: A Voluntary, Immediate transfer of property from the doner to the donee, without consideration
a.       Voluntary – doing it because want to, not expecting something in return
b.      Intent, Delivery, Acceptance
                                                              i.      Burden of proof on donee to prove all elements exist
c.       Gift for future is not a gift
2.      How Possession can be obtained – Types of Delivery
a.       Manual/Actual Delivery
                                                              i.      Physically handing gift to donee
                                                            ii.      Traditional Rule: if can be handed over, has to be handed over
                                                          iii.      Modern Restatement of Property §32.2: gift by document is valid even if could be physically handed over
b.      Constructive Delivery
                                                              i.      When object too large for manual delivery
                                                            ii.      Physically handing donee a key or other object that will allow access to the gift
1.      Donor has to know gift is in there – proof
c.       Symbolic Delivery
                                                              i.      Physically handing donee something symbolizing the gift
1.      Usually when unavailable for delivery
                                                            ii.      Usually written document declaring gift to donee and signed by donor
1.      Letter is immediate (causa mortis) if it was most immediate form of communicating gift
                                                          iii.      Exception: Gift of Wardrobe (Newman v. Bost)
1.      If donee is given key to donor’s bulky wardrobe, donee may acquire that piece of furniture but will not become beneficiary to contents inside (life insurance policy, stock). Donee likely to only get what can’t be delivered, i.e. the wardrobe.
a.       If can deliver, must deliver
b.      Constructive delivery sufficient for objects that, due to size and weight, can’t be physically delivered
                                                          iv.      Exception: Safe deposit box contents
1.      If share safe deposit box and handed over 4 bonds saying “I want to give you these” – later puts in 22 more bonds. Even though note saying “I want sister to have these”, not gift. Sister only entitled to original 4. No delivery – even though shared box.
3.      Gift Inter Vivos
a.       Gift made “during life” of donor, immediate transfer between 2 living people
                                                              i.      Donative Intent: Expression of willingness to give gift immediately
1.      “I want to give you x”, not “I want to give you x tomorrow”
                                                            ii.      Delivery: Manual, Constructive, Symbolic
1.      If give with intent to give and then take back to fix, still gift
                                                          iii.      Acceptance – of gift by donee (presumed by court)
1.      If donee expressly refuses, no acceptance
4.      Gift Causa Mortis
a.       Gift made in anticipation of donors imminent death
                                                              i.      Intent: Expression of willingness to give gift immediately
1.      Peril must be objectively present (surgery, not psychic reading)
2.      Presumed that donor would keep gift if anticipated peril didn’t exist
                                                            ii.      Delivery: Manual, Constructive, Symbolic
                                                          iii.      Acceptance – of gift by donee (presumed by court)
                                                          iv.      Revocable – donor can revoke at any time before death
1.      Automatically revoked if donor does not die from the anticipated peril (car accident instead of cancer)
2.      If donor outlives donee
                                                            v.      Will will probably override gift causa mortis??
5.      Gift by Check (Constructive Delivery)
a.       CL – check is an order to pay and is revocable prior to payment/cashing
                                                              i.      No valid gift until cashed, donor retains dominion and control over funds, donor could stop payment or die – Woo v. Smart
b.      Modern/Reform – suicide check – intent is clear by writing of check
                                                              i.      Rule changing Estate of

                                                            i.      If Employee in course of employment – usually awarded to Employer
                                                            ii.      If trespasser – usually awarded to landowner
1.      Finders rights void if trespass occurs – can’t reward wrongdoers
 
 
 
RIGHT TO EXCLUDE
1.      Bundle of Rights
a.       Possess
b.      Use (can be limited)
c.       Exclude (can be limited) – Shack
d.      Alienate
2.      Jacque v. Steenberg Homes – “The private landowner’s right to exclude others from his or her land is one of the most essential sticks in the bundle of rights (above) that are commonly characterized as property.”
a.       Mobile home – crossing through land
b.      Landowner has right and interest to exclude others from trespassing on land
                                                              i.      Rights have to be protected by state – enforced, penalized – less self-help
c.       Society has an interest in punishing and deterring intentional trespassers beyond that of protecting interest in individual landowners
3.      State v. Shack – Title to real property cannot include dominion over the destiny of persons the owner permits to come upon the premises
a.       Field workers, health services
b.      Exclusion: ownership is really about the right to exclude
 
 
ADVERSE POSSESSION
1.      Transfers property to one who is originally trespasser but title owner takes no action to get rid of him before SOL runs
a.       Rewards useful laborer at expense of sluggard who doesn’t attest ownership
2.      Statute of Limitations for actions to recover property from wrongful possessor
a.       TO loses right to recover after SOL runs, AP has all rights after SOL
b.      Action for Ejectment – allows original owner to reclaim land
c.       If SOL runs, AP has possession from beginning (if took over 20 yrs ago and SOL is 20, AP owns land for 20 years)   
                                                              i.      If cut tree down year 10, SOL runs, TO can’t sue for tree cut down
3.      Elements
a.       Must have ALL – different for each case
                                                              i.      Possession must be:
                                                            ii.      Open and Notorious
                                                          iii.      Actual (unless constructive under color of title)
                                                          iv.      Continuous
                                                            v.      Hostile/adverse/under claim of right
                                                          vi.      Exclusive
                                                        vii.      Required Period of Time
b.      Possession must be
c.       Open and Notorious
                                                              i.      Visible, apparent, not secret