Select Page

Property I
University of Toledo School of Law
Kennedy, Bruce M.

Outline
Thursday, November 11, 2010
8:17 PM
 
                        I.            INTRODUCTION
A.      What Is Property (bundle of rights are exclusive but not absolute)
1.       Right to use and enjoy
2.       Usufruct: right to own the benefits created by the property
3.       Right of exclusion of others (as long as it does not invade the rights of another-State v. Shack)
4.       Right to Transfer: by gift, sale, devise, descent
B.      Justifications of Private Property
1.       Natural Rights Theory: ownership is an inherent human right
2.       Occupation Theory: first in time, first in right
3.       Labor Theory: (locke) mixing labor confers a right to own
4.       Utilitarian Theory: private ownership maximizes social welfare
C.      General Principles
1.       Economic v. Property Rights
a.       Not the same thing
b.      Law will protect business people from interference but not from competition
2.       Rights:
a.       If you don’t have all the sticks in the bundle does not mean object is not property (cells)
b.      Doctrine of Accession: B owns log, A transform log into pipe organ
a.       B does not get pipe organ, A only liable for FMV of log
                      II.            Acquisition By Discovery
A.      All titles derive from single sovereign
B.      Only discoverer has right to pass title of lands, Indians did not
1.       Indians never had possession
C.      Creates chain of property Rights
                    III.            Acquisition By Capture
A.      Two Types
1.       Land
a.       Taking possession of territory by force
b.      Typically followed by an annexation of defeated territory by conqueror
c.       Individuals cannot pass better title than they have (Johnson v. McIntosh)
2.       Ferae Naturae
a.       Rule Regarding wild animals: if you gain possession you keep it
b.      What is Gaining possession?
a.       Spotting or Chasing:
1.       Mere pursuit DOES NOT constitute possession (Pierson)
b.      Trapping or Mortally Wounding
1.       May constitute possession
2.       If it is reasonably certain the animal will be captured, AND
3.       If the wound is inflicted in a manner that clearly identifies the hunter (Ghen)
                                                                                                                                    i.            If customs are reasonable they can be used to establish capture-one does all that is possible to make the animal his own, that would seem to be sufficient
c.       Business Competition
1.       Courts are less likely to be sympathetic if the defendant was interfering in a known or established business (Keeble v. Hickeringill)
2.       Where the defendant is acting out of a malicious intent to disrupt the plaintiff’s business the court will side with plaintiff
3.       Lawful, fair competition is tolerated because it is thought to improve society
d.      Locke’s Labor Theory: Put in the effort and labor then you should be awarded for the efforts of chasing and hunting fox
 
                                                        III.            Other Important Principles:
A.      Return to Natural State
1.       If a wild animal or mineral is captured AND then escapes to its natural state. The original ownership is extinguished AND the animal or mineral will become the property of whomever recaptures it
B.      Ratione Soli
1.       Land owners do not own the wild animals on their land, BUT they have a right to kill anything on their land (Pierson)
C.      Domesticated Animals
1.       Even if killed outside the owner’s property they still belong to the owner
a.       Ex.: cow escapes pasture and sent to slaughter, owner is entitled to compensation for the meat
D.      Law of Manu: Whoever owns the mother owns the offspring-because you can easily tell who the mother is/father not as easy
                   IV.            Acquisition By Creation
A.      Property is limited to chattel
1.       Others are free to imitate your creation
a.       Policy: public benefit and free market place
2.       Want Competition but not unfair competition (INS v. AP-quasi property)
3.       Patents, copyrights, trademarks, and rights of publicity create a limited monopoly-to promote creative activity, but limited in order to advance competition (Cheney Bros v. Doris Silk)
4.       Influence of Culture and Custom
a.       Personal image may be considered a property value today, but not if it discourages innovation (white v. samsung)
B.      Property In One’s Person
1.       Organs:
a.       Under American Law a person may not sell their sell their organs or other tissues, BUT
b.      Some types of cells may be sold (blood/plasma)
c.       Based on Public Policy
2.       Use of Cells for Research (Moore)
a.       A person DOES NOT retain ownership over their extracted cells after a medical procedure BUT
b.      That person must be told what is intended with regard to the final deposition of his cells before the procedure (informed consent)
a.       Physicians who breach the informed consent duty will be liable for a breach of fiduciary duty
b.      Not be liable for conversion damages
                     V.            Acquisition By Find
A.      General Rule: Finder has title to lost property that is good against all the world except the true owner.
B.      When dealing with found property always look for statute first:
1.       State statues are common regarding found property
2.       Statues typically give the finder actual title
3.       Statutes do more than common law
C.      Types of found property:
1.       Abandoned:
a.       Property that is left behind by the true owner with the intention or relinquishing all rights to it
b.      Finder takes paramount title
c.       Mere non-use is not abandonment
d.      Cannot abandon a possessory interest in real property
e.      Can abandon a non-possessory interest in real property if it is an easement
2.       Lost:
a.       Property that is unintentionally deposited s

aud or deceit
c.       Recognizable methods of delivery
a.       Manual Delivery
1.       Actual physical delivery where possible
2.       Usually with smaller items
b.      Symbolic Delivery
1.       Delivery of some item that represents the chattel
2.       Symbolic Delivery alone is typically not enough to sustain a gift
                                                                                                                                    i.            Ex. Give saddle because I want you to have horse
c.       Constructive Delivery
1.       Delivery of some item that implies access to the gift
2.       CD required where MD is impossible\
                                                                                                                                    i.            Ex. Key to car or trunk
d.      Written Instrument
1.       Some document that substitutes for MD or CS
2.       Most jurisdictions uphold the validity of written instruments
                                                                                                                                    i.            Ex. The deed to a house or building
3.       Donee Acceptance
a.       Donee acceptance is required BUT if the gift conveys a benefit the Donee Acceptance is presumed
D.      Other Types of Gifts
1.       Gift of Future Interest
a.       Donor reserves a life estate, but gives future interest in item
b.      Gifts of future interest must be more than a mere intention to give
c.       There must be some sort of physical transfer OR
d.      There must be a document that clearly indicate a transfer of a present interest has occurred
e.      If not gift will be invalid
2.       Statements of Intention
a.       NOT GIFTS
b.      Statements of intention do not fulfill requirements of IVG or GCM so they cannot be construed as gifts
E.       Gifts with Condition Attached
1.       Majority rule: Gift is valid because intent to make gift
a.       Condition ignored if manual delivery directly to the donee
2.       2nd View: The gift is invalid (no gift at all)
a.       The oral condition impeached the donative intent
b.      Contract
3.       3rd View: both gift and condition are valid
a.       Give effect to gift and condition
4.       If Donor transfers property to a donee with a condition of “upon my death”
a.       1st View: not valid (promise to make a future gift)