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Property I
St. Johns University School of Law
DiLorenzo, Vincent M.

I. What is property?
A bundle of rights. So that any interest has these characteristics
a. Possess
b. Use
c. Fruits and Profits Exclusive
d. Alienate Perpetual
e. Destroy

II. Actions
A. Trespass:
1. Right of possession
2. Intentionally interfered with right of possession
3. No authorization for interference
Recovery of damages
B. Conversion (Trover): forced sale
1. Right of possession
2. Intentional interference
3. Lack of authorization
4. Serious/significant interference
Full fair market value of the property
C. Replevin (action to recover pp)
1. Right of possession
2. Intentional interference
3. Lack of authorization
Return: right of possession plus right of replevin

III. Acquisition of individual property rights in wild animals:
A. What is a wild animal?
– what are the generally shared expectations with regard to a type of animal in this locale?
– do these animals have owners or not?
– expectations lead to notice: if an animal generally has an owner, it is not a wild animal, and vice versa.
B. General Rule
1. Intention- to appropriate the animal to individual use
Why is it important?
-Limited supply, so why allocate to those who don’t desire it.
– Rights carry responsibilities and obligations. Don’t want to impose property rights without consent. People should not be forced to assume obligations.
2. Possession- deprive the animal of its natural liberty
– bring it within your certain control
Why is it important?
a. for the sake of certainty
b. for preserving peace and order in society.

C. Ratione Soli: by reason of ownership of the soil
– exclusive right to hunt and fish
– do not automatically own the animals on their land.
– all about discouraging trespass
1. the plaintiff (claimant) is the owner of private property
2. the other claimant/ defendant is a trespasser: enter the private land without authorization.
3. the trespasser has satisfied the general rule: intention to appropriate the animal for individual use and requisite possession
– the rights that would normally go to the captor will go to the landowner.
D. Loss of rights
– Regain natural liberty:
1. Free from artificial restraint.
2. To return to your natural habitat.

IV. Lost Property
A. Types of Claimants
1. True Owner: always has superior rights, original and rightful owner of property that is lost, mislaid, or abandoned
2. Finder:
a) Possession- takes physical custody of the property; person in possession of the article
b) Intent- to control the property
– possess
– use
– fruits and profits (if true owner appears you need to need to turn over fruits and profits)
– alienate (can’t transfer ownership; can only transfer

Private place- Fee owner has rights superior to finder
Public place- Fee owner has rights superior to finder
3. Rights of Finders in Abandoned Property- Private v. Public Places
Private place- Fee owner gets rights superior to finder
Public place- Finder gets rights superior to fee owner

E. New York Statute:
– concerned whether the common law rule adequately served the policy (increase the likelihood of returning the property to the true owner)
– if person finds mislaid property, what is the likelihood of the property being returned?
Statute:
1. no such thing as Mislaid property; all property is LOST!!!
2. procedural barrier preventing most property from being declared abandoned:
– unless a lawsuit is commenced within 6 months of the find to declare the property abandoned, the property is permanently deemed LOST.
3. a fee owner is no longer a finder, ever! Eliminates concept of constructive find.
4. obligation is to turn the property over to the police. If you do that, when the requisite
period of time lapses and the owner does not come forward, the finder becomes the owner.