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PROPERTY I-JA - PROPERTY I By Jeff Amato Professor Zinman I...

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PROPERTY I By Jeff Amato Professor Zinman I. Wild Animals A. Acquiring Title to Wild Animals Ferae Naturae – Animals in the wild become the property of captor. Public Policy promoted the killing of wild animals, encouraging hunters to establish control by killing 1. Methods of Acquiring Title a. Actual, Physical Capture b. Mortal Wounding and Continued pursuit c. Trapping and securing, rendering escape impossible 1) Young v. Hitchens (escape was possible through hole in net). L aw will not protect hunters who have not produced certainty of actual possession. 2) Leisner v. waine (impossible escape of a fox found to be possession of the hunter who gave the mortal wound.) 3) Interference by a non-competitor is inconsistent with public policy Keeble v. Kickeringill (Defendant liable for scaring away fowl by shooting intentionally to scare them away.) d. Custom may change rules above Ghen v. Rich (slain whale.) e. Ownership by virtue that you own the soil McKee v Gratz (Mussels) f. Protection of 3 rd party hunters reasonable expectations 2. New York State Law – State has the title to all wild animals, except those legally held in private ownership. The state cannot be held liable however. B. Natural Resources are generally treated as Wild Animals (Natural gas) C. Lost Possession Exclusive ownership of wild animals ends when the animal regains its natural liberty, when it escapes restraints and can provide for himself and thrive in its new environment. Mullet v. Bradley (Sea lion escapes in the Atlantic Ocean.) 1. Exceptions a. Animal is extremely out of place. (Elephant on Union) Defendant is on notice that the animal has escaped. b. Animus Revertendi, domesticated animals, considered lost property Stephens & co. v. Albers (fox breeders fox killed after it was lost, had to be returned to owner) Public policy valuing domesticated animals. Lost property, not wild animal. Unable to regain natural liberty b/c domesticated. Conti v. Aspca (Chester) D. Control of Animals – Owners are absolutely liable for the damage their animals inflict. Liability remains until another asserts ownership. E. Rights of Trespassers v. Owner of Land – Normally the owner of land owns everything including wild animals. Trespassers who kill wild animals do not get title. 1. Exceptions a. License b. Custom c. Free flowing water (not enclosed ponds) Douglaston Manor v. Bahrakis d. McKee v. Gratz (Owner of land entitled to mussels but not the profits from them.)
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2. Types of Possession A. Finders – A finder has superior rights to everyone but the true owner Bridges v. Hawkesworth. 1. Exceptions a. Owners of property who have possession of property. b. Trespasser – the owner of the locus prevails c. Employees who are working for the owner of the land, the owner of the land is entitled d. Minerals in the ground are the owner of the land e. Treasure trove goes to the finders because it was intentionally put there f. Abandoned property goes to the finder g. Public Places 1) Lost Property goes to finder 2) Mislaid Property goes to owner of locus McAvoy v. Medina
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