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

Lindsey Property I Fall 2008
Defining Property
First Possession
Capture Rule – First person to capture, owns.
Labor Theory – Individuals should enjoy the fruits of their labor
                                                              i.      Absolute title trumps labor theory. Dissent in Pierson v. Post wanted to go by labor theory, giving fox to pursuer over actual possessor.
Discover Doctrine – Grants absolute title to federal government and restricts alienation from Native Americans.
Johnson v M’Intosh 92
                                                              i.      Rule: First in time possession. Discovery gave title to the government by whose subjects, or by whose authority, it was made, against all other European governments, which title might be consummated by possession. Additionally, private citizens could not purchase lands directly from Native Americans.
1.      Absolute title gives “bundle of sticks”
                                                                                                                                      i.      Right to convey
                                                                                                                                    ii.      The right to exclude
                                                                                                                                  iii.      The right to possess
                                                                                                                                  iv.      The right to use
2.      “First in time, First in Right”
Pierson v Post 73
                                                              i.      Rule: Pursuit alone vest no property rights to the pursuer
Edwards v Sims 99
                                                              i.      Rule: Property owner owns land from core to outer space. Owner of surface land, first to acquire rights to sub-surface.
                                                              i.      Inter vivos gift – gift between living, title passes while donor alive.
1.      Inter vivos gift requires 3 elements
a.       Donative intent – intent to make an immediate effective gift.
b.      Delivery
                                                                                                                                      i.      Traditional rule: actual/manual delivery is required
                                                                                                                                    ii.      Modern Exceptions: constructive or symbolic delivery may be permitted
1.      Constructive delivery – when physical gift of property impossible (i.e. car keys for car, combo for safe)
2.      Symbolic delivery – symbolizes gift when actual physical delivery impossible (hospital bracelet, picture of car)
c.       Acceptance
                                                                                                                                      i.      Presumption: Acceptance is presumed/implied when gift is beneficial to donee.
                                                            ii.      Gift Causa Mortis – gift by living person in anticipation of pending death. Can revoke gift before death.
1.      Requires the same 3 elements as inter vivos plus 2 others
a.       Gift must be made in anticipation of imminent death (knew they were going to die)
b.      Donor must die of contemplated peril (not of something else)
                                                          iii.      Testamentary Gift – Done by will, effective once person dies.
In re Estate of Evans 200
                                                              i.      For delivery to take place under inter vivos, there must be more than just saying you are giving somebody gift. Donne has to have complete control and dominion over box and contents. (Has to have delivery)
Scherer v Hyland 208
                                                              i.      Rule: For a causa mortis gift to be valid, transfer does not have to take place before death. Only need constructive delivery.
Finders Law
General Rule: Finder has title to found property against all but the true owner and prior possessors (Armory v. Delamirie).
Better title: true owner or somebody who can demonstrate they are prior possessor.
Place where object finds makes difference:
                                                              i.      Public place generally finders
                                                            ii.      Private location generally owner of location
Finders status makes difference:
                                                              i.      Finder is employee acting in scope of employment (generally goes to employer)
                                                            ii.      Finder is trespasser (generally goes to owner of land)
Nature of property found:
                                                              i.      Lost
1.      Definition: Owner unintentionally and involuntarily parts with property
2.      Rule: Property becomes finders if original owner makes no claim in 12 months. (Under common law, person who finds stolen property not involved in theft is considered lost property)
                                                            ii.      Mislaid
1.      Definition: Property voluntarily put in a certain place by the owner who forgets where property is.
2.      Rule: Finder has no rights to property. Possession of mislaid property belongs to the owner of the premises upon which the property is found. Want to encourage return of mislaid property to owner.
                                                          iii.      Abandoned
1.      Definition: voluntarily left with no intent to recover
2.      Rule: Apply the general rule- except in cases of trespass
                                                          iv.      Treasure trove:
1.      Definition: coins or currency concealed by the owner with element of antiquity.
2.      Rule: goes to the finder against all others but true owner
Armory v Delamirie 129
                                                              i.      Rule:Finder has possessory claim that is superior to everyone else, except someone that has better title.
Benjamin v Lindner Aviation, Inc. 131
                                                              i.      Rule: Four categories of found property. As property was mislaid in this case, it goes to the owner of the premises upon which the property is found so when owner looking for it he knows where to look. Categories of found property: Abandoned, Lost, Mislaid, and Treasure Trove.
Rights and Responsibilities of Possessors
A rightful possession of an object by one who is not the true owner of the item.
2 elements for bailment

e possession started
Test for Adverse possession Hostile Element
                                                              i.      Objective test – Would a neutral observer (someone who does not know the true state of the title to the land in question), viewing AP’s actions with respect to the land, conclude that AP was the owner of the land based upon AP’s conduct.
                                                            ii.      Good faith test – A claim of right by a squatter is a false claim. Don’t want to put a premium on dishonesty. AP cannot establish title by adverse possession unless she takes possession with the good faith belief that she has valid title.
                                                          iii.      Intent to claim – intended to claim the land possessed, regardless of the location of the property boundary.
Elements of Adverse Possession
                                                              i.      POACHER!
                                                            ii.      P – Possession must be:
                                                          iii.      O – Open and Notorious
                                                           iv.      A – Actual (unless constructive under color of title)
                                                             v.      C – Continuous
                                                           vi.      H – Hostile/Adverse/Under claim of right
                                                         vii.      E – Exclusive
                                                      viii.      R – for the Required period of time
Open and Notorious
                                                              i.      Visible, apparent, not secret.
                                                            ii.      Occupy as an owner would.
                                                          iii.      Conduct towards third parties, perception of others.
                                                          iv.      Should put the true owner on notice of the nature and existence of the claim.
Actual – puts true owner on notice for adverse claim
                                                              i.      Exception: color of title may permit “constructive possession” of entire identified tract.
Continuous – Possession must continue for the entire SOL period.
                                                              i.      Cannot be interrupted by entry by the true owner.
                                                            ii.      Cannot be abandoned
                                                          iii.      AP’s presence must conform to what is customary for owners of similar land.
Hostile/Adverse Under Claim of Right