Limitations on Absolute Rights of the Landowner-
State v. Shack –property rts are not absolute, cts try to strike a balance between interests of property owner against rts of others..
1. one cannot use property to injure another
2. necessity may justify entry upon land
Objects and classifications of property
property rts are generally classified according to nature of object of which the rts are claimed.
immovables v. movables; real v. personal ;
Edwards v. Sims- landowners own airspace above land and under it
Nontraditional types of property
Nonphysical property – property law developed as means for people to own and control specific things. – IP, govt benefits, licenses, services may also be considered property
Moore v. Regents- unauthorized use of human tissue in med research does not constitute conversion
Conversion- 1. P possessed of certain goods 2. casually lost them 3. D found them 4. D did not return them but converted to own use
Role of Property in society
Conquest and dominion- when Europeans began conquest of New World, they generally adopted principle that original inhabitants could occupy and retain possession of land but could not convey since discovery gave exclusive title to the discoverer.
Johnson v. McIntosh- established NA rt of occupancy against all entities except fed govt; so long as US govt doesn’t disturb title, NA can defend title against intrusion.
Constitutional limitations – US constitution limits state action but not private action- private discrimination is not violation of constitution, but can violate federal statutes
Shelley v. Kraemer- Equal protection clause of 14th Amend prohibits enforcement by state cts of racially restrictive covenants
requirement in this case that enforcement be state action instead of private action for ct to be able to declare invalid
The acquisition of personal property
possession- assertion of custody or control over property. Possession is not the equivalent of ownership. Where a person is in possession of a chattel, the law will protect such possession against entire world except true owner. However when possession has been granted by true owner, the possessor’s right to custody and control of chattel will be superior to even those of true owner
ownership- recognized relationship between owner and rest of society with respect to a particular piece of property. Relationship involves certain rights and responsibilities. Facts of possession or right of possession does not ordinarily establish right of ownership.
Finding – ownership of real property carries w/ it ownership of everything that is on that land through natural processes, unless it is already owned by someone else and as long as it is already part of the universe
Objects placed on land by nature’s forces- Natural deposits which have been brought to soil by natural forces are not regarded as “unclaimed movables”, rather belong to owner of soil wherein found ; taking by finder is wrongful- Goddard v. Wichell (aerolite)
Abandoned or ownerless property- in order to obtain legal rights of possession of lost, abandoned or ownerless property, the finder must make intentional acts of possession as are reasonable and possible
Eads v. Brazelton- lead salvager marked w/ buoy and tree markings, ct held not enough to give title by occupancy
Lost property- one who finds lost property does not become its owner. A finder, however, is entitled to possession of it against all the world but the true owner. Finder can bring action for conversion, trespass or replevin to enforce right to possession against other 3rd persons
Finder of chattel has title superior to all but rightful owner- Armory v. Delamirie- (P found ring, but D’s apprentice removed stone, ct held P entitled to recovery for full value)
Trover- action to recover value of chattel.
Replevin- action to recover in equity (chattel itself)
Item found in public part of private property – Finder has superior rights to all but the owner for lost chattel found in a public place
Bridges v. Hawkesworth – P found bank n
perty sold to a BFP will shift from true owner to the BFP where,
the owner’s conduct estops him from asserting the title against the BFP
the owner is a beneficiary of the property which was held in trust such that owner only had equitable title and the trustee had legal title, which he transferred to BFP
owner was fraudulently induced to sell property to a person who then sold to a BFP, since owner conveyed voidable title to defrauder and that title became absolute when defrauder sold to the BFP
Sheridan Suzuki v. Caruso Auto Sales – (Bouton “bought” motorcycle from P with a bad check, then sold to D the next day before Bouton received the certificate of title
D claims that P should be estopped from asserting title because D relied on P’s representation that Bouton bought motorcycle. However, equitable estoppel cannot create rights that never existed. D never had title to motorcycle because D never had certificate of title required under NY statute.
the transaction falls under the UCC which gives good title to a good faith purchaser for value even if seller has only voidable title. UCC §2-403
2 types of estoppel- statutory and equitable- Porter v. Wertz
statutory estoppel – UCC §2-403- protects buyers in the ordinary course of business – buyer did not buy in good faith if he is indifferent to the seller’s status as an art merchant and his authority to sell the art
transferring possession of property to another, without more is insufficient to equitably estop an owner from asserting his title against a purchaser- P entrusted possession to Von Maker, however possession without more is insufficient to create an estoppel