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Property I
University of Iowa School of Law
Matsumoto, Barry D.

Property Outline 2012


1.       Acquisition of Property Rights
a.       Rights by capture
i.      Pierson v Post- did Pierson acquire property right of animal when he closing in on his pursuit of the fox
1.       Barbeyrac standards:
a.       Hunter must manifest intention to appropriating the animal
b.      Deprive the wild animal of his natural liberty
c.       And bring the wild animal within a person’s certain control
ii.      Popov v Hayashi
1.       Baseball might have been secured if catcher had not been mobbed by crowd (Gray’s rule: a baseball that is dislodged by incidental contact with an inanimate obj. or another person, before momentum has ceased is into possessed).  rt
2.       Conversion-is the wrongful exercise of dominion over the personal property of another.
a.       There must be actual interference
b.      Wrongful withholding of property can constitute even where the D lawfully acquired the property
3.       Possession requires physical control AND intent to control
4.       Concept of equitable division- resolves competing claims which are equally strong-(fairness)
a.       Popov and Hayashi have equal shares
iii.      First occupancy claims (a priori restrictions)
1.       The object occupied is unowned
2.       Occupation is in some relevant sense actual as opposed to intentional or declaratory
3.       the concept of actual occupation defines with reasonable clarity how much one can occupy
4.       And the occupier claims no more than a share as defined by 3
iv.      Possession is the root of title
1.       First possession systems (better claim)
2.       Systems create original common ownership in all the citizens of the jurisdiction (held in common positively or negatively)
v.      Fugitive minerals- natural resources that do not stay in one place
1.       Traditionally ruled by the rule of capture
a.       Market failure-each with claim tries to get it all before it is gone
2.       It is now regulated by state/federal agencies
a.       Control amt of production
b.      Ensure each owner gets their pro rata share
vi.      Locke-that laboring on something improves it and make it more valuable, and anyone is entitled to own a thing whose value he has created
(not completed)
Acquisition of property rights by FIND
i.      A finder is one who rightfully acquires possession of property of another that has been lost, misplaced, abandoned, or hidden so as to constitute treasure trove.
ii.      Owner of the locus in quo- the place where the lost property was found
iii.      Favorite v Miller
1.       Piece of historical statute is found by a trespasser buried on private property
2.       Rule: other than treasure trove buried property is the property of the OLIQ (wrongdoer is not allowed to profit from wrongdoing).
iv.      Lost property has been parted with involuntarily or unconsciously.
1.       F is only entitled to lost property if efforts have been taken to return it to the true owner
2.       Ex. Found on floor (finder)
v.      Mislaid property is personal property that has been intentionally placed somewhere and then unintentionally left there (forgotten).
1.       Benjamin v Linder Aviation
a.       Money found in wing of plane
b.      Intent of true owner-based on the circumstances on which the property was found
c.       Circumstance of found item indicate that it was mislaid, therefore property goes to the OLIQ
2.       Ex. If found on seat or counter property is considered mislaid (OLIQ)
vi.      Abandoned property is no longer in the possession of the prior possessor who has intentionally relinquished, given up, or released the property (w/o reference to any particular person or purpose).
vii.      Treasure trove consists of coin or money concealed in the earth or another private place, with the owner presently unknown.  Element of antiquity-improbability that the owner is alive.
viii.      Decisional Algorithm (notes p 61)
ix.      Bailment is the rightful possession by one person of the good of another.
1.       Two issues
a.       Extent the bailee is liable to bailor for bailee’s failure to return goods to the bailor
b.      Right of  bailee to recover the bailed goods or their value from a third party who has wrongfully taken or damaged the goods
2.       General rules:
a.       If bailee can recover from wrongdoer third party, bailor cannot also recover
b.      Title of third does not prevail over bailee title
Acquisition of Property Rights by Creation
White v Samsung Electronics
i.      White sues for infringement on her intellectual property right b/c D had a advertisement with robot by wheel of fortune
ii.      Common law rule publicity (protects against commercial exploitation of that identity)
1.       D use of the P identity  
a.       Name
b.      Likeness
c.       Signature
d.      Voice
2.       Appropriate of P name or likeness to the D advantage-commercially or otherwise
3.       Lack of consent
4.       Resulting in injury
iii.      Limitation
1.       The right of publicity does not extend beyond name and likeness, to any appropriation of identity-anything that evokes her personality
iv.      Must strike a balance btw future creators and the public at large and protecting celebrities identity (owner)
v.      Intellectual property rights assures authors the right to original expression, but encourages others to build freely on the idea that underlie it
vi.      Copyright- literary and artistic expression and the expressive elements of computer software
1.       Life of author + 70 yrs
vii.      Patent- inventions whi

                                      ii.      Montana-does not recognize engagement rings as conditional gifts
1.       the “anti-heart balm” statute does not bar action to reclaim the ring
a.       Statute bars general damages (humiliation, emotional suffering)
b.      Does not bar property exchanged in contemplation of marriage
2.       Doctrine of unjust enrichment – requires a showing of misconduct or fault to recover
iii.      Gift- a transfer of personal property made voluntarily and without consideration (irrevocable) (consideration- agreement to do nor not a certain thing)
Tenn. United Daughters of Confederacy v Vanderbilt Univ.
i.       Donor-gives $50,000 with conditions: Construct a dormitory, Name it Confederate Memorial hall, and Allow women descendants of Confederate soldiers live there rent free
ii.      Vanderbilt agreed to terms of conditional gift and must perform or return the money
iii.      cy pres-to reform or carry out in donor’s intent as nearly as possible:
1.        Where courts will not enforce conditions of agreements
a.       Impossible
b.      Illegal
c.       Impractical
Foster v Reiss
i.      Wife writes note giving her money in two bank accounts to her husband, places note in drawer before surgery, and is unconscious when husband receives letter, should he have the bank accounts although the will states otherwise
i.       Has the husband received a valid gift of donation causa mortis – no b/c wife was w/o capacity to make gift when husband took possession of the note
1.       Gift causa mortis- Is disfavored since it is a testamentary nature and an invasion into the province of the statutes of wills
ii.      Requirements of gift of causa mortis (disfavored)
1.       Donor must be aware of  imminent death
a.       Can make either make a inter vivos gift OR
i.      Gift will be effective while person is still alive (not disfavored)
b.      A gift of causa mortis
i.      Gift collection only when donor dies (can revoke at any time prior to death)
c.       To decide between the two we evaluate donor’ intent