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Property Law Outline

A. Property
• Property = a bundle of rights
• Can be tangible or intangible
• Is enforceable
• A person can have one right or several (i.e. right to use, sell, give away, loan)
• Person can have 1 right but not another
• Rights can be co-owned:
a) i.e. I own a tree and you own the oranges; I own land and you own mineral from oil
b) Temporal Divisions – i.e. time-sharing, renting, leasing, renting books
c) Leasing – ownership as landowner and possession as a tenant
B. Real or Personal Property
• Real Property – Land and the things attached (buildings, structures, vegetation)
• Personal Property – Any property that is not real property
a) Can be tangible or intangible
b) Intangible – something you can’t touch. (i.e. stocks, copyrights, patents, trademarks)
C. Title is Relative
• Property does not = ownership or possession.
• Property = A bundle of rights. Possession is one of these rights, along with ownership.
• Property can be divided
• Title is Relative – A person can have superior title relative to one person but not superior title relative to another
a) i.e. I borrow a pen from Bob. I let Chad borrow it… I have inferior rights to pen than Bob. But Chad has even less superior rights than me.


A. Pierson v Post
• RULE: Property in wild animals is acquired by OCCUPANCY, meaning at least mortally wounding or capturing from a distance, and at most physical possession. Mere pursuit is not enough.
• Occupancy: Animal is deprived of natural liberty and escape is rendered impossible.
• Post was hunting a fox when Pierson, seeing this, killed and captured the same fox. Post brought a trespass action and lost when court said fox wasn’t his property.
• Was a first impression case for court, so relied on ancient legal scholar opinions (secondary sources) to find out what constitutes possession of a wild animal.
• “Mortally wounded” not defined
• Possession = First in time. First in right.
B. More on Ownership over Wild Animals
• If the captured WILD animal regains natural liberty, ownership of animal ceases; unless they have the intent to return, which is only to be known by their usual custom of returning.
• HYPO: O has a game farm. Elk escapes. H shoots elf on land not belonging to O. O sues H.
a) We don’t know if he has intent to return, but O invested into the elk
b) First to possess is the one to gain the right

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