1.Acquisition of Property Rights by Capture
a. Wild animals are the property of no one unless they are reduced to possession.
i. Pierson v. Post- Mere pursuit of a wild animal, without more, is insufficient to create a property right in the pursuer of the wild animal. Rather, the pursuer must take possession of the wild animal. Therefore, Post did not have property in the fox and thus an action against Pierson cannot be sustained. The court also notes that the “owner of the land” typically wins in these cases- though that doesn’t apply here.
a.Barbeyrac’s three rules on possession: (He also discussed mortal wounding though that does not apply here)
i. Did the first hunter manifest intent? (This allows the second hunter to realize that there is a first hunter)
1. N: Second hunter wins
2. Y: Did the first hunter deprive the animal of its natural liberty? (ensures that the hunter is expending effort in pursuit of the wild animal)
b. Y: Did he manifest certain control? (Did the hunter expend labor over and above the other hunter in pursuit of the animal?)
1. N: 2nd Hunter
2. Y: 1st Hunter Wins
b. Intent to control and absolute physical control
i. Popov v. Hayashi- The court first decides to adopt “Gray’s Rule” which states that the “actor must retain control of the ball after incidental contact with people and things”. Unfortunately though, Popov didn’t have the opportunity to retain control so the court decides: “Where an actor undertakes significant but incomplete steps to achieve possession of a piece of abandoned personal property and the effort is interrupted by the unlawful acts of others, the actor has a legally cognizable pre-possessory interest in the property. That pre-possessory interest constitutes a qualified right to possession which can support a cause of action for conversion” (26). The court decides that they both get it.
2.Acquisition of Property Rights by Find
a. History of Finder’s Rights:
i. Armory v. Delamirie: A finder has good title against all the world but the true owner.
a. The true owner will always win.
ii. Now the finder’s rights are subservient to the rights of the prior possessors, even though they cannot establish that they are the true owners
b. Characterization of Found Property:(reflect on the intent or the mental state of the true owner) (OLIQ v. Finder)
i. Lost Property: If a possessor involuntarily parts with property which the possessor can no longer find, the property is lost property. (Finder Wins)
ii. Mislaid Property: If a possessor voluntarily and intentionally lays down property in a place where the possessor can again reclaim it, but then forgets where it is. (OLIQ Wins)
iii. Abandoned Property: Where a possessor voluntarily relinquishes all rights to the property with the intention of no longer claiming any interest in the property. (Finder Wins)
iv. Treasure Trove: Money, coin, gold or silver that was found hidden in the earth or some private place whose owner was unknown.
c. Favorite v. Miller- They could not determine the characterization of the property because it occurred over 200 years ago. The owner of the land possesses all personalty that is attached to or lies under the land and also based upon the principle that the law will not reward a trespasser by awarding him fruits obtained only through a wrongful act.
d. Benjamin v. Linder Aviation, Inc.- Is the property mislaid vs. abandoned. Decide that the property is mislaid and that the owner of the plane, not the people servicing it or the employee who found it, gets the property.
i. The finder of mislaid property acquires no rights to the property since possession belongs to the owner of the premises upon which the property is found.
3.Acquisition of Property Rights by Creation
a. White v. Samsung Electr
c. A gift is a transfer of personal property made voluntarily and without consideration.
c. A gift causa mortis: A lifetime gift made by a donor in contemplation of her impending death. It must meat all the requirements of the inter vivos gift as well as the condition of contemplation of impending death.
i. The gift is automatically revoked if the donor survives the peril that motivated the donor to make the gift.
ii. Foster v. Reiss: The court decided that this was not a gift causa mortis (gift made in the face of death), this didn’t qualify because there was no delivery (the elements are the same as inter vivos gift)
a. Under NJ law actual delivery is required
b. Because gifts causa mortis are like testamentary gifts (gifts made by will) but are made without the protective formalities of a statute of wills, some courts are more strict in determining whether the formalities to make a gift have been satisfied than they would be for a mere inter vivos gift.
i. “a gift causa mortis is essentially of a testamentary nature”
d. Colavito v. New York Organ Donor Network, Inc- In this case the decedent’s wife specifically intended to donate the decedent’s kidneys to P. When asking for the other kidney, they found out it had already been transferred to someone else. The court determined that a specified donee of a kidney does not have a common-law or state statutory property right to the kidney.
i. Under New York common law there is no property right in a dead body.
ii. Case relied on statutes.