ACQUISITION OF PROPERTY RIGHTS
What is Property
i. The relation of two or more persons, endorsed by the state. (ie) Robinson Crusoe “owns” the treehouse in relationship to Friday
ii. Property Owners are entitled to the proverbial “bundle of rights” in their property:
1. Possession for some period of time
6. Devise by will
Acquisition of Property Rights by Capture
i. Wild Animals
1. Rule of Capture: Wild animals are the property of no one unless they are reduced to possession (occupation). Mere pursuit is not enough.
a. Pierson v. Post: Post was hunting a fox on unoccupied land. After putting much time into his endeavor, Pierson came and intercepted the fox. Pierson won because you do not have property rights in animals until you have actual occupation of the animal.
2. Mortal wounding: A pursuer who mortally wounds the wild animal and continues to purse might also acquire a property right in the animal as against one who actually kills the animal.
3. Netting of Animals: A pursuer who secures wild animals in a net also acquires a property right. However, courts differ on the questions of whether it matters if escape is possible or not.
4. Captured/Escaped Animal: A captured wild animal that escapes and returns to its natural habitat is no longer the property of its prior possessor. But if a subsequent possessor knows, or should have known of the prior possessor’s claim, the prior possessor may have a superior claim.
ii. Fugitive Minerals: Minerals that are under the land of various owners.
1. The rule used to be that you had a right to how ever much you could get; no matter whose land you shared the deposit with. So you would pump as much as you could, as fast as you could to make sure you got your fair share.
2. Now the industry is highly regulated.
Acquisition of Property Rights by Find
i. General Rule: A finder has good title against the rest of the world; except for the true owner.
ii. Classifications of Property at Common Law.
1. Lost – Possessor involuntarily parts with the property and can no longer find it.
2. Mislaid – Possessor voluntarily and intentionally lays down property in a place where the possessor can again reclaim it, but then forgets where it is.
3. Abandoned – Possessor voluntarily relinquishes all rights to property with the intention of no longer making a claim to the property.
a. Ordinarily, abandoned property belongs to the finder.
4. Treasure Trove – Money, coin, gold, or silver that was found hidden in the earth or some private place whose owner was unknown.
iii. Rights of Finders against Owners of Land
1. Trespasser: Owner has a better claim to found property than
ii. Property Rights in Embryos
1. The interests of the “contributors” of the embryo are weighed.
2. If one contributor wants to avoid procreation his interest trumps, so long as the other contributor can have children another way.
a. Davis v. Davis – Wife and husband had 7 leftover embryos from attempting in vitro fertilization. They divorced wife wanted the embryos to go to an infertile couple, but husband did not want the embryos to develop into children. The court held that Wife’s interest in donation is not as significant as the husband’s interest in avoiding parenthood.
iii. Property Rights in Your Body
1. You have no property rights in your own body.
2. However, your family has a quasi property right to your body once you are dead.
a. Your family has the right to control what happens to your body.
3. Anatomical Gift Act: You can choose to donate your organs. If you don’t then your family can choose to have them donated after you are dead.
Brotherton v. Cleveland – The corneas of D’s deceased husband were removed without D’s consent by the coroner. The coroner was allowed to remove the corneas of the deceased if they didn’t have any knowledge that