Duncan Hollis – Temple University – Spring 2010
A. What is property?
1. Not inherent in the thing it is a legal creation. w/o rules you have a “might makes right” situation.
2. Types of Property
i. Real prop – land
ii. Intellectual prop
iii. Personal prop – things
3. Bundle of Rights – must have all to be prop (one view), inviolable
i. Right to use
ii. Right to exclude others
iii. Right of Transfer
4. There are problems with the free use of property – prop not inviolable
i. Injury to others or their prop
ii. Gov made something illegal
5.Singer approach to prop
i. Property rights are not about things they are about relationships between people or between people and government
ii. Power distribution is being decided
B. What are the Rights Associated with Property Ownership? What Role does the government play in establishing such rights?
1. Regulation of the Right to Exclude With Respect to “Private” Property
i. State v Shack –
a. FACTS: doctor and lawyer trespass inorder to service migrant workers, get asked to leave by owner and don’t
b. CT: did not rule on constitutionality of the statute, ruled on state law and made a balanced judgment
i. Did not use standard reasoning –
1. Dignity of Worker v. Prop Owners Rights pg 106
2. Workers win
ii. Community interest, level the power playing field
c. Instrumentalist Ruling – decide the end result then find a way to get there.
ii. Trespass – black letter law
a. Intentional unprivileged entry onto land of another
i. Public policy
iii. Desnick v. ABC –
a. FACTS: Reporters went undercover in D’s eye care practice and exposed fraudulent practices
b. CT: No breach of D’s prop. (consent is defense)
i. Action was not violative of interest that trespass protects
ii. Openness of prop to public allows consent by fraud [Food Lion] iii. Socially good end justifies fraud
iv. Food Lion v. ABC –
a. FACTS: Reporters pose as employees and “expose”
b. CT: Trespass since they exceeded extent of their consent
i. Consent is good even if exceeded so long as physical thing consented to is done
2. Regulation of the right to Exclude with respect to “property open to the Public” vs. Regulation of the Right of Reasonable Access
i. Uston v Roberts International Hotel – MINORITY RULE
a. FACTS: Card counting blackjack player banned from NJ casino
b. CT: If you open property up to the public then you have no right to exclude unreasonably
i. Comes from Innkeeper/Common Carrier rule
1. If you fall into this class you cannot exclude unreasonably – reasons for this rule: protection from bandits, monopoly protection & hold themselves out as open
c. Majority Rule: is restricted to Innkeeper/Common Carriers
i. Civil rights acts pg 125
1. Innkeeper/Common Carrier Rule grew out of Jim Crow laws
2. Prior to civil war the rule was more like NJ – after they had to redo common law to allow some form of discrimination so it was limited to I/CC
II. Competing Claims to Property: Sources of Property Rights and Interests
A. Claiming Property Rights by Discovery and Conquest – What is the Source of Property Rights and How do you gain Interest in it?
1.If you proceed backwards in prop ownership and transfer far enough then you get to a 1st owner
i. How did they legally obtain the rights as owner?
ii. Island of Palmas –
a. FACTS: International dispute between US and Netherlands over Island of Palmas btwn the Philippines and Indonesia
i. US claims right of ownership because of discovery rights transferred from Spain.
ii. Dutch claim rights by virtue of trade and treaty and administration with and over Island
b. CT: Max Huber (International Lawyer and Arbitor)
i. Discovery can be a basis of property rights, but only if it is followed up by “effective occupation”
ii. “effective occupation” alone is sufficient basis of title if it is for a long enough period of time in peaceful co-existence with other (western) states (powers).
c. Positivism v Naturalism
i. Positivism – law is a matter of consent; majority creates laws and they are not a matter of moral terms of evaluation
ii. Naturalism – not about consent; based in a source higher than or outside the legal system (religion, nature etc)
d. Lockian Labor Theory:
i. First possession – who found it v.
ii. Labor – who put the work into it to make it of profit to society
iii. They are usually balanced and combined but Palmas shows us they can be separated
1. Societies interests are advanced by the labor theory
iii. Have we gotten o a point where primacy and getting there first has ceased to matter? Is there anything left to discover?
iv. Johnson v M’Intosh – sets up property system we still use today
a. FACTS: Claims to land in Illinois in 1823, 1 stems from British discovery and then the passage of those rights to the US and then through a grant. The other descends from a sale made from the Natives.
b. CT: Discoverer (US by virtue of British transfer claim) gets title and right to dispense land.
i. Natives get the right of occupancy subject to conquering or sale to US ONLY
1. By virtue of being discoverer US has sole right to gain prop occupancy right from natives
c. This land was not the same piece being argued over
i. Purely a test case and all were in on it (jud
DISSENT – J. Brandeis
a. Institutionalist – defer to proper institution, hesitant to make law from bench, prefer Congress
i. Not “What is the goal?” but “Who should make the goal?”
b. Worried about monopoly and defers to leg.
iv. Title is relative
a. Rights visa v each other or visa v the public etc
b. Change combatants and change outcome of title
v. Why does Labor protect AP but not Post?
a. Labor matters but labor we value matters more?
2. Upton v. JWP Businessland –
i. FACTS: employment case, at-will employee was let go due to inability to meet greater than promised hours. Child care at issue, argued public policy of caring for child
ii. CT: protect business public policy over personal public policy; must be a very general public policy, specifically protected
a. This is an ENDS case: ct disagreed on what outcome should be
b. INS was a MEANS case: ct disagreed over ways to reach agreed on end
3. Moore v Regents of University of California –
i. FACTS: Diseased spleen removed from Moore to create Mo line of cells for $$$ without his knowledge or consent. Meant for spleen to come out but did not know of research application.
a. Two claims
i. Property interest in spleen would entitle him to cut of profits: conversion of his property – LOST
ii. Not informing him of the uses of his body parts: Breach of Duty – WON
ii. CT: Moore loses on the Conversion case, why?
a. Formalist arguments: WEAK
i. Statutory text – disposal of bio hazard means lack of ownership once removed, CA Statute
ii. Cell line is distinct from raw materials, so much work etc has gone in that he cant have any prop interest (doges point of prop interest in body parts)
iii. Everyone has lytocines and they are all the same so no prop interest- REALLY? Then why do they need his?
b. Instrumentalist Arguments: Public Policy pg 48 (are these the only public policy options?)
i. Doesn’t want to threaten innocent parties engaged in socially useful activities w/disabling civil litigation
ii. Protect patients rights in medical decisions
c. Institutionalist argument at the end:
i. Afraid of overreaching in leg area (not my job)
Suit Over (M’Intosh)