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

Laurie Reynolds for Property in Fall 2014
Acquisition of Property
1.   General Rule – a finder has rights superior to everyone but the true owner
·         Armory v. Delamirie
·         finder has superior rights over any and all subsequent finders who aren't the true owners
·         Rationale for rule:
·         prior possession protects true owner
·         entrusting goods to another is an efficient practice
1.   e.g.) dry cleaner, repair store, etc. (if this rule were not present then the those types of stores would be able to claim ownership)
·         reinforces belief that law is just
·         rewards honesty
·         deters disruptions of public order
2.   Possession – acquire physical control over object and have an intent to assume dominion over it
·         Eads v. Brazelton
·         brazelton doesn't have possession since he only has intent NOT means of physical control
1.   must place boat over wreck, with means to raise it
3. Constructive Possession – possession although unaware of it
·         South Staffordshire Water v. Sharmon
·         gives ownership of objects found on owner's land to the owner even if sb else (who is not a trespasser) found it
4. Possession – objects under or embedded in the soil
·         ancient rule: whatever becomes affixed to the soil belongs to the soil
·         doctrine of accretion – things that naturally move from one property to another is claimed by the new owner of the land (“these gains are of accretion”)
·         occupancy – “movables” are considered property of finder even on land owned by another
·         movable – anything that can be moved by “the hand of man”
·         Goodard v. Winchell
·         meteorite is NOT considered a movable (didn't come to earth by hand of man) NOR abandoned (never had previous owner)
·         TF, occupancy but ACCRETION
5. Possession – objects found in private property (for private use)
·         rule – objects found in private property usually given to owner of property
·         rationale for rule:
1.   land owner intends to exclude everyone but people with specific limited purposes that doesn't include finding property
ú  deliveries, dinner guests, etc
2.   expectation that all objects found in property is his (including “unaware” objects)
·         EXCEPTION – owner not in possession of property
·         if owner not moved into house –> NOT in constructive possession of unaware articles in house
·         Hannah v. Peel
6. Possession – objects found in public places
·         Lost-Mislaid Distinction
·         lost: owner accidently and casually lost
1.   lost objects go to finder
2.   eg. ring slips through hole in pocket
3.   Bridges v. Hawkesworth – bank notes dropped on ground –> finder
·         mislaid: intentionally placed by owner but forgets to pick it up
1.   mislaid objects go to owner of premises
2.   eg. wallet left on table and forgot to take it
3.   rationale for rule: purpose of classifying as mislaid is to return object to true owner
ú  assumes owner will remember and come back to retreive it
4.   McAvoy v. Medina – wallet left on table –> owner of store (to keep in case true owner comes to get it)
·         CRITICISMS
                             i.    must guess whether owner casually dropped object or placed intentionally and forgot it
                            ii.    must guess whether object was dropped casually or mislaid on table and sb else ac

WEVER: uninterrupted does not mean they have to use the property without a break
3.   requisite possession – taking care of property and improving it is sufficient to give continuous, “uninterrupted” possession
4.   Howard v. Kunto
·         Hostile – did actually trespass and owner did NOT GIVE PERMISSION
1.   if permission granted to enter –> CANNOT BE HOSTILE
·         Open and Notorious
1.   open – owner needs to know or SHOULD know that trespass is being committed
2.   notorious – other people should be able to assume that trespass is being committed
ú  others should infer that adverse possessor is claiming ownership (whether they know it's trespass or not does not matter)
·         Actual
1.   trespass did indeed happen
2.   owner would have a case of trespass if filed
·         requisite period of Time
1.   statute of limitations has run
2.   SoL starts only when the owner knows about trespass or SHOULD HAVE KNOWN about trespass
·         Exclusive
1.   ouster – wrongful dispossession or exclusion of someone from property
2.   cannot share ownership with owner or with general public
·         rule of mistaken boundary
·         majority of states – possessing land mistakenly believing that it is his does not matter à qualifies as AP
·         minority of states
1.   possessing land mistakenly believing that it is his à depends if had he known the mistake, no intention of claiming land à no AP