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Property I
University of Iowa School of Law
Kurtz, Sheldon F.

Property I


· “bundle of rights” in a thing
· aspects of the meaning of property:
o what actions can be lawfully taken by the holder of rights (ie., prop owner)
o what are the objects (scarce value or economic asset) w/ respect to w/ch such actions can be taken
o something of value (an asset)
· relationship between two or more persons to a thing endorsed by the state (might makes right and might is supplied by the state)
· property not a relevant question if no one else makes a claim on it
· line b/twn prop & non-prop is a social line & drawn for social reasons (eg., in some societies women treated like prop)
· you can own something you’ve never possessed, and conversely you can possess things you’ve never owned.
· our legal system closely assoc the concept of prop w/ economic risks
· all common property (eg., park bench) embodies a system of rationing of access (a user is limited to so much as he can physically occupy) and succession

Pig under a tree scenario:

Possible owners of a “pig under a tree”/potential claimants to the pig:

person who owns the land where pig was found
care giver of the pig (person who feeds the pig)
person who rents the land on which the pig is on
person who paid money for the pig
owner(s) of the pig’s parents (boar and/or mom pig)

Who has rightful claim to the pig:

owner of the mom pig b/c he contributed to the life and well being of the sow (mom pig) and to a less extent tht prsn can prove a connection to the pig

in deciding property rights, courts look for w/ch is the easiest to prove
rewarding investments is worthy of giving (property) rights to ppl. (ownr of mom pig has the greatest invstmnt)

Might makes Right

means to enforce adjudication
principle under which Friday won tree house over Crusoe where there was no third party to arbitrate. Friday was in the house; Robinson was on the ladder; Friday can keep Robinson out.
now state has exclusive right to “might”


an sufficient condition for efficient use of resources: The rights must be transferable.” (CB 32)

To what extent does the law want to protect the third party purchaser b/c he is a bona-fide purchaser for value (or not a bona-fide purchaser)?
Just b/c A has better claim on prop over B, doesn’t mean A has a better claim over C (eg., Silver fox in red fox territory)

Young v. Hitchens (civil case from England) &
State v. Shaw (criminal case from Ohio)
P was enclosing fish by net and D’s boat came in b/4 P could close the net and took the fish. In civil case, jdgmnt for D; in criminal case, jdgmnt against D.

The holding of a case can never be broader than the facts!
Prior possessor has claim of property against a subsequent possessor who has no legitimate claim to the property.
A P who can show prior possession of property, against D,