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Property I
University of Illinois School of Law
Reynolds, Laurie Jo

Reynolds Property Fall 2013
I.                   What is property?
A.    A bundle of rights
B.     A system that defines the legal relationships among persons with regards to a thing and the relationships among persons with regards to a thing
C.     Continuous attempt to allocate rights and responsibilities btw prop owners and everyone else
D.    3 rights
1.      Use
2.      Transfer
3.      Exclude
* none of these are absolute
E. Goals: to protect owners from the rest of the world and to protect society’s rights ag the owner
F. moore v regents of the univ of cal
    Facts: moore has leukemia, needs surgery, has it successfully, his cells are used to create a cell line that’s patented→lots of money and research
  Issue: does common law doctrine of conversion apply to moore’s cells? Whose prop are the cells?
“Conversion” – something lost, found and not returned and instead converted for someone else’s use
Holding: no – regents of univ of cal
Reasoning: 1. No precedent – cells are special
2. cal statute limits patient’s control over excised cells – leg intent
3. cell line – different than cell – moore didn’t add value – was necessary, but not suff
Take away: is  a frontier issue – a ruling for conversion would have crippling effect on research, court refused to go there; unauthorized use of human cells for research purpose is not conversion
II.                The Right to Exclude  
A.    State v shack
Facts: tedesco tried to prevent migrant workers from having private access to gov services on his land
Issue: did defs violate NJ trespass statute?
Holding: no
Reasoning: Tedesco didn’t have right to exclude and thus, they didn’t interfere with any prop right of the owner; visits=necessity
Sidenote: holding on the basis of the US Constit would have invalidated the NJ trespass statute – thus, they could not go done that route
Take away: prop rights can be limited; prop rights cant be applied to trample rights of indivs; necessity may justify entry of another on private property – doct of necessity  
Consider: fact that judges were sympathetic to immigrant status; bargaining position – prop owner obviously had better position
III.             Right of Disposition
A.    Jones v alfed h mayer co
Facts: black man looking to buy prop, barred bc of race, white owner argues that statute only applies to public prop and that cong does not have authority to prevent private discrimination
Issue: whether white owner’s refusal to sell to a black person violates fed statute 1982?
Holding: yes – it is violated statute; fed gov has auth to regulate both private and public sales
Reasoning: leg intent shows statute regulates both private and public sales; statute is implementation of 13th amendment
Take away: prop rights are not absolute
IV.             Objects and classifications of property
A.    Edwards v sims
Facts: men are fighting over land, lee thinks Edwards is trespassing, Edwards thinks he owns whole cave, lee thinks land under cave is his, survey is ordered, Edwards is mad and sues sims the judge to prohibit the survey
Issue: whether survey can/should happen
Holding: survey is ok
Reasoning: cave is like a mine, rights are not absolute – must balance prop rights btw owner and neighbor
Take away: prop rights are not absolute; balance is crucial
Consider: old rule: whoever owns surface owns sky to bottom – court says this is not absolute; public or private necessity may justify entry onto land of another  
V.                Role of Property in society
A.    Johnson v mcintosh
Facts: non-indian is claiming ownership rights under a deed from an Indian tribal leader and another is claiming deed bought from gov.
Issue: di

issing action, which is necc for possession
Take away: this case establishes actual/legal possession as the standard (not manual possession); knowledge, continued assertion of a right, and intent are not enough to est possession for the right of occupancy
Defs: “legal possession” – actual taking of prop with intent to reduce it to possession; requires:
1.      desire
2.      intent
3.      persistent efforts to get manual possession
4.      means – ability
Legal possession requires: PAID
“manual possession” – you have your hands on it
“line of possession” – claim of right — actual taking —-manual possession
C.     popov v hayashi
facts: bonds hits ball, p attempts to catch, mauled, we don’t know if he secured ball; h finds it, both claim possession
issue: who has right to possession?
Holding: p has pre-=possessory intert→right and h has manual possesion→right; both did nothing →both win – split profits of ball with
Take away: “equitable division” – split possession equally
D.    Armory v delamirie
Facts: chimney sweep finds jewel, brings it to jeweler, jewelry shop employee removes stones, offers boy money, boy refuses and wants jewel back, boy brings action to get stone
Issue: who gets jewel?
Holding: boy
Reasoning: finders keepers
Take away: finders keepers; finder has rights against all but true owner; dispute
between finder and someone he entrusted property with for a purpose- finder gets it; finder has rights ag all but true owner