Select Page

Property I
University of Connecticut School of Law
Bronin, Sara C.

Professor Sara Bronin
Spring 2010
Property
 
INTRODUCTION
       I.            Idea of the commons
    II.            When someone has prop rights: 3 entitlements: rights are unlimited but reality is each are limited
a.       Privilege to use:
                                                              i.      Zoning laws
b.      Right to exclude
                                                              i.      Cant exclude everyone (hotel)
c.       Right to transfer
                                                              i.      Cant transfer to everyone
 III.            commons:
a.       Hardin’s tragedy of the commons: too much freedom brings ruin to all; limited access communities
b.      Critique:
                                                              i.      Social norms in small community come into play
                                                            ii.      Legal centralist: unless there are agreed rules agreed, no order happens bc law is not always impt bc of social norms
c.       Alt: set up monitoring &enforcement; break up commons, sell off commons; individual transferable quotas
  IV.            Anticommons: too many ppl can exclude & no one can use resource
a.       Ex. Patents, holdouts  
     V.            Semicommons: resource is subject to priv. exclus. Rts in some uses but is open access for other purposes (fish caught in high seas becomes private prop)
  VI.            Eggerstsson: Open Access versus Common Prop (95)
a.       Point: tragedy of the commons is really common prop or private prop; Common prop &open access are very similar; tragedy of the commons confused these 2 terms;
b.      Common prop: limited access; controlled &limited to a certain group of ppl (beach access to residents only)
c.       Open access: open to all member of a prat. Community; can’t exclude anybody from using it; nat’l govt can control this
                                                              i.      Supply consequence: rat. Actor has no incentive to make investment
                                                            ii.      Demand conseq.: perverse timing &overuse of  resources
                                                          iii.      External effects: A imposes costs on other actors but A ignores these effects
d.      Solution:  K to limit depletion (but hard to do); have private owner/state control access through prices; individual transferable quotas (ITQs)(restrict access but can be tx)
e.       Sum: open access is efficient there are no more benefits in creating more exclusive rts
                                                              i.      Ex. Restaurant operation: owner wont control certain things (like charge extra for salt, time spent at dinner table); ex. Grazing rights in medieval times weren’t really open access
VII.            Coase Theorem:
a.       Sum: doesn’t matter who owns prop; resolution will be same in end (wo trans. Costs); parties will bargain to their best result; same result doesn’t matter who is liable; intended to reveal impt of tx costs;  
b.      Critiques:
                                                              i.      Presumption that actors are rational
                                                            ii.      Presump all values are capable of being expressed in $ terms
                                                          iii.      reciprocal behavior: each party to the dispute is imposing costs on other
                                                           iv.      some ppl may never bargain w eachother; (emotions, attachment to prop)
                                                             v.      assumes ppl are always looking to legal system to impose entitlements
VIII.            Prop/Liability Rules
a.        Prop rule: you can only destroy prop with owners consent
                                                              i.      Protects someone’s prop rts; best when trans costs are low bc parties can bargain to best result (Coase)
b.      Liab rule: someone may destroy someone’s prop if he is willing to pay damages
                                                              i.      Applied when trans costs are high bc ↑ efficiency, solves holdouts & freerider prob (ex class actions)
c.       Inalienable: transfer is not permitted bw a willing buyer & seller
                                                              i.      Ex. Body parts, slavery, cultural patrimony
  IX.            Ex post/Ex Ante Distinctions
a.       Point: timing of bargaining is impt;
b.      Prop rules: inefficient from ex post but better in ex ante
c.       Coasen world: doesn’t matter when bargaining bc we’ll get to same point BUT in reality timing is impt
 
ACQUIRING PROP
 
     X.            Acquiring: 1st possession: things that are not owned (fish air wild animals); how ppl own an object?
  XI.            Ways things can be owned:
a.       Owning the soil which objects exists
b.      signaling ownership of physical prop; fence
c.       Put work into something or you can make profitable employ in something;
d.      Wounding/capturing
XII.            Relationship bc creating prop &waiver:
a.       Locke: When someone puts work into something, their ownership of that thing has greater entitlement then someone w/ a competing claim
XIII.            Wild Animals:
a.       Pierson v Post: (social norms NOT used)
                                                              i.      wounding an animal is not enough to show possession; mortal wounding is possession; wounding animal is ambiguous & requires less wrk (*reward work)
                                                            ii.      Dissent: There are hunter’s norms; Δ tired out fox; unfair for bystander to steal fox
                                                          iii.      Notes: remedies:
1.       suing for $
2.       equitable division: baseball not often bc hard to take apart prop &grant title
b.      hunting context, possession happens by:
                                                              i.      taking/capturing animal
                                                            ii.      if hunter has certain control over wild animal
                                                          iii.      Pierson dissent: hunter has reasonable prospect of capture
c.       Ghen v Rich 1881 (social norms used)
                                                              i.      Ownership of whales in cape cod-hunter hunted whale &someone else found it on shore &sold to 3rd party
                                                            ii.      remedy: market value of the oil obtained from whale – cost of trying it out &preparing it for market
                                                          iii.      in contrast to Pierson, ct looks to whaling community & social norms
                                                           iv.      note: different rules for whaling; ct here is rewarding labor; public policy
d.      Keeble v. Hickering:
                                                              i.      Duck hunters; D fires shots &scares Ps ducks from decoy
                                                            ii.      Malicious interference: Schools case; there was no malicious interference in Pierson bc both were going after the same thing
XIV.            Lost Prop: Finders
a.       Mislaid prop: something inadvertently left behind &didn’t abandon
                                                              i.      If Mislaid prop is later found to be abandoned,  better ownership claim is that of the owner of prop
                                                            ii.      Priority: finder can have next priority after prop owner doesn’t own it
b.      Eads v. Brazelton: finding a shipwreck
                                                              i.      Ship filled with lead sinks to bottom -D finds wreck, marks spot; 9 months, leaves wreck bc of bad weather &other business, other co comes along &takes lead
                                                            ii.      Held: prop was abandoned;
                                                          iii.      P wins bc D didn’t have possess of it; D didn’t hover over the shipwreck;
                                                           iv.      Note: this is similar to pierson: like Post he found shipwreck &marked it &someone else took it
                                                             v.      Point: -title for ownership is relative
c.       Baseball case:
                                                              i.       similar to abandoned prop
                                                            ii.      no malicious interference (P didn’t knock P out of the way) like in Keeble
                                                          iii.      Popov’s interest: pre possessory interest: he would have had 1st possession 1st control if others didn’t interfere with it; he needed signal steps to have 1st control -Hayashi s interest: 1st control &non malicious-remedy: equitable
                                                           iv.      Point: possession is 9/10 law &1/10 of grabbers
 
XV.            Discovery
a.       Johnson v M’Intosh 1873
                                                              i.      False way of discovery; Europeans were considered discovers-tribes didn’t think of land as commodities -no land record system; -P wanted to eject D off prop
                                                            ii.      -issue: same piece of land sold once in 1771 to π & title to Δ in 1818; -how can tribes tx ownership &what kinds of tx can be recognized by fed govt?
                                                          iii.      Analysis:-ct goes through hx; title would have to pass through govt in order to have individual own it
                                                           iv.      -goals of ruling: centralized title reasons &economic policy; reallocation of prop: Impt for hx value &establishing a pattern of reallocating pop from tribes to Americans
                                                             v.      Point:*case more about hx issues
 
XVI.            Land Grants & Mining
a.       Land Ordinance Act: §16 set up for public schools;
                                                              i.      Issues: how can we provide clear title to land? Dividing land in this way was method to keep track of land tx
                                                            ii.      Problems: squatters; by 2nd half of 19th cent, govt recognized rt of settlers to gain land as long as they improved it
                                                          iii.      means of acquiring priv prop: ordinance act; got land for free just need to live on it for 5 yrs; this was massive shift of land prop; from tribes: to homesteaders; to squatters
                                                           iv.      Why are we privatizing vast tracts of land?
1.       Revenue; Reward; Promoting hardword &labor; Promote dev &pop outward
                                                             v.      NOW: fed govt owns 30% of land
b.     Minerals:
                                                              i.      miners had informal organizations, if dispute arose, had meetings to resolve it; why?
1.       small communities, easier to resolve conflict
2.       better results can be achieved w ↑ gains vs. everyone lose out
3.       everyone was the same (community, white)
                             

f someone else; strict liability; elements of conversion
                                                                                                                                      i.       Has title: ownership possession
                                                                                                                                    ii.      Someone else wrongfully took it
d.      Argue: P has prop. Rt to his spleen; likening body parts to publicity; D: everyone has same sells; D took cells & made it diff from Ps cells
e.       Held: pts don’t have clear rt to prop over their cells; health & safety; don’t want to encourage market in body parts; ↓ 3rd parties to liability
f.        Dissent: we have traditional rt to prop interest in our body parts
g.      Point: Conversion liability claim failed; if you pay ppl for blood donation, samples would be more contaminated
5.       Hecht v Superior Ct
a.       Kane died, docu showed intent; will, letter saying gf can impregnate herself, deposited sperm in spermbank; executed his will
b.      -agreement w sperm bank; releasing it to his gf received letter addressed to children &unborn child
c.       Held:
                                                                                                                                      i.       disposition of assets: -sperm is prop, has potential for life, so has certain value-sperm bank agreement: spermbank treats as prop until donor guarantees anonymity; D was not donating it
d.      Note: Children grown from a posthumous decedent have to be grown w/in a reasonable time after health: restatement
                                                             v.      SUM: body parts are a kind of prop (quasi); serious restrictions on alienability
1.       What are incentives of all ownership?
2.       How much of our bodies do we own?
3.       Do these ownership rts reflect real prop rts?
4.       How do traditional rules deal with these novel issues (ex conversion)?
5.       Why don’t we let ppl sell their body parts?
 
c.     Artists’ Moral Rights
                                                              i.      prupose: Effort of artist &part of personality; creation used out of context ↓art
                                                            ii.      VARA: restoration, failure to preserve, &conservation: is not mutl &destr –
                                                          iii.      work made of hire: Carter  whether  sculpture commissioned for bldg protected by VARA; no bc its work for hire; can waiver rts w/ express agmnt
                                                           iv.      Duration of artist’s rts:
1.       VARA: protection ends at time of death or if work was created bf VARA, then life of artist
                                                             v.      Moakley v Eastwick rt of preservation
1.       Passed in 1986, art created in 1970s; art wall w panels of timeline of diff societal events; Church=remove; if removed, art is destroying
2.       Ct sees other sim. acts had retrospective lang; looked at hx bf passage of act; looks at ca law where this act is quoted verbatim;
3.       ct held: reflects clear intent of leg not to apply act retrospectively
d.    Cultural Patrimony
                                                              i.      Corrow:
1.       NAGPRA: efforts to prohibit trafficking of native American objects human remains &cultural patrimony; π got object from widow of dead chanter; tribe believed masks represented living gods; P lied about giving it to chanter;
2.       Cultural Patrimony 2 factors:
a.       ongoing historical cultural or traditional impt
b.      be inalienable by tribe by virtue of objects centrality in tribal culture
3.       Issue: whether πs objects were cultural patrimony under NAGRPA
4.       π argues defin of CP; was owned by widow; experts disagreed about alienability
5.       Held: π was an expert; lied; testimony of outside expert; π  had fair notice
6.       Note: archeological resource act: protects artifacts found in fed land; provides guidelines to extract objects; are exemptions
7.       Note: Kennewickman: found remains, predated time natives came to US; Human remains under NAGRPA but ct ruled against giving to natives bc act only applies to remains affiliated w/ presently existing tribes
a.       need to ask is there a relationship to existing NA tribes?
                                                                                                                                      i.      Why, bc wasn’t theirs; there will be a boundary so NAGRA doesn’t outreach itself