Property is all about Title. Title is:
? Both chattel & real property can be “discovered”
? First in time, first in right
? Property can be acquired by possession and use.
? Real Property Johnson v M’Intosh, (3) upheld theory that the use must be modern “commercial” use –
western technological use. Merely living on the land without improving it or utilizing it in commerce does
not constitute "labor." Ouch.
? Must have seizure - prior to seizure (physical control over movement, constructive possession,)
"discoverer" has not put sufficient labor into the property to control it by merely chasing the fox.
Pierson v Post (19)
? Killing something consists of control. Ghen v. Rich (26)
? Policy reasoning allowing ownership through discovery/capture of previously unowned property.
? Locke‟s theory – Labor must be the property of the laborer.
? Promotion of saleable title within economic system.
? Lost items Does the finder own the item or does the property owner where the item was found
? Anything attached to the land is the property of the landowner. Elwes v. Briggs (qouted in Hannah v. Peel,
? However something undeliberately placed on the land becomes property of finder. Broach dropped into
window embrasure property of finder. Hannah v. Peel (103)
? Anything deliberately placed on the land belongs to the landowner. Pocketbook placed on counter & left
belongs to shopkeeper. McAvoy v. Medina (110)
? Is there policy to support "owner" of lost property that most helps true owner to find lost property?
? Creation: Intellectual property Cheney Bros. v. Doris Silk (60)
? Outside the patent system, most intellectual property is not protected. Courts let congress handle it whenever
? News is protected outside the patent/copyright system is protected as it is economically necessary to protect
that, but infeasible to file for copyright.
? Adverse possession
? Visible & Notorious
? Notorious is difficult to prove for small encroachments Mantillo v. Gorski (138 steps on house)
? With chattel, notorious is also difficult. Statute of limitations begins when the true owner discovers or should
discover through due diligence the current possessor of the property. O'Keefe v. Snyder (153)
? Actual exclusive possession for the statutory period
? 10-20 years for real property
? 20 years under common law & MD law (C&JP ?5-102). 10 in New York. Van Valkenberg v Lutz (120)
? 3 years for chattel MD C&JP ?5-101)
? Statute begins to run when the true owner does or should through due diligence discover the possessor.
O'Keefe v. Snyder (153)
? Disability – action must be filed for someone disabled at the time the action accrues, the lesser of three years
or the full period of limitations after the disability is removed. If the original statute has more than three years
left on it, the original time frame is preserved. (C&JP 5-201)
? Possessor must use the property in the normal fashion. Van Valkenberg v Lutz (120 Brooklyn house)
? A joint owner cannot begin the statutory period without an "ouster" - preventing other joint tenants from entry
onto the property. Basically requires notification to begin statute of limitations.
? Continuous use
? Possession does not always have to be continuous if continuous possession is not the normal way a true
owner would use the property. Howard v Kunto (143 WA beach houses)
? One may “tack” the previous possessor‟s time on where there was color of title passed through a good faith
transaction. Howard v Kunto (143)
? Claim or right, good faith possession or hostile intent sometimes required.
? Court asks why reward the thief rather than the honestly mistaken for hostile intent requirement.
? However, possession with permission is not "adverse"
? To keep the land in commerce – presumably the true owner is not using the land.
? To reward those using the land in a way beneficial to the community.
? If someone fails to enforce their own property right for twenty years, why should society?
? Elements of a Gift
? Intent of donor
? Makes the transaction "real" to giftor
? May be Manual, Constructive or Symbolic
? Symbolic/constructive delivery could consist of delivery of deed, letter of gift, keys, etc.
? Symbolic/constructive delivery of keys to a dresser does not constitute gift of items inside dresser that
would not "normally" be found inside a dresser. Newman v. Bost (170)
? Acceptance is usually assumed
? Inter Vivos
? Of chattel
? Lesser proof is required
? May gift a future interest Gruen v. Gruen (178)
? Letter stating gift constitutes constructive delivery of a gift of a future interest Gruen v. Gruen (178)
? Of Land
? Requires intent,
? Constructive delivery of a deed in writing, which is executed and notarized (of transfers of more than one
year - Statute of Frauds.) MD RP ?5-101
? Causa Mortis
? Frequently conflicts with a standing will
? Requires more proof, as courts want to uphold the will system
? If donee is already in possession of the property, there must be redelivery
? Used to require seisin for real property. Now requires a deed. A deed must have
? Names of grantor & grantee
? Description of property
? Execution, acknowledgement & recordation.
? Statutory Estoppel
? UCC ?2-403
1. A purchaser of goods acquires all title to which his transferor had or had power to transfer except that a
purchaser of a limited interest acquires rights only to the extent of the interest purchased. A person with
voidable title has power to transfer good title to a good faith purchaser for value. When goods have been
delivered under a transaction of purchase the purchaser has such power even though
a. The transferor was deceived as to the identity of the purchaser or
b. the delivery was in exchange for a check which was later dishonored or
c. it was agreed that the transaction was to be a "cash sale" or
d. the delivery was procured through fraud punishable as larcenous under the criminal law
2. Any entrusting of possession of goods to a merchant who deals in goods of that kind gives him power to
transfer all rights of the entruster to a buyer in the ordinary course of business
3. "Entrusting" includes any delivery and any acquiescence in retention of possession regardless of any
condition expressed between the parties to the delivery or acquiescence and regardless of whether the
procurement of the entrusting or the possessor's disposition of the goods have been such as to be
larcenous under the criminal law.
? Equitable Estoppel
? One party induces action in another through some wrongdoing is estopped from action against the second
party in regards to that action.
? Even though an owner had "entrusted" something to a dealer in kind, he is not estopped as that entrusting is
not a wrongful act. Porter v. Wertz (supplemental)
? Anyone may make a will who is 18 or older MD E&T ?4-101
? Will must be in writing, signed by testator or representative at testator's direction, and two witnesses MD E&T
? Witnesses do not need to know they are witnessing a will. Casson v. Swogell (supplemental)
? Anyone in the armed services may make a will w/o witnesses if in testator's handwriting and testator is outside of
US. Such will only valid for one year after discharge. MD E&T ?4-103
? Wills made outside MD and valid under that state's law are recognized in MD. MD E&T ? 4-104
Spouse Minor Child among Issue Parents Grandparents Great-Stepchildren None issue Grandparents Entire Estate (none exist) (none exist) - - - - 1/2 Estate