The Superiority of Possession 1805
Pierson v. Post (1805), Popov v. Hayashi (2002)
PIERSON v. POST – 3 Cai. R. 175, 1805 N.Y. LEXIS 311
RULE: Pursuit alone does not confer property rights in feroe naturoe animals. As a result, no action will be taken against a guy who kills and takes a person who was being pursued by, and in the view of, the person who first discovered, started, chased, and was about to seize it.
FACTS: Lodowick Post was hunting a wild fox with his hounds when Pierson, seeing the fox was being pursued, shot and killed it. Plaintiff Post filed a trespass suit against defendant Pierson, and the trial court found in his favor. Plaintiff had no rights in the fox just because he was chasing it, according to the defendant.
ISSUE/QUESTION: Can a person claim legal ownership of a wild animal just by chasing it?
CONCLUSION: The court determined that just following a wild animal does not entitle a person to own it. To be considered legally owned, the animal must be completely trapped or killed.
Popov v. Hayashi – 2002 Cal. Super. LEXIS 5206
RULE: An actor has a legally cognizable pre-possessory interest in abandoned personal property if he or she makes significant but unfinished measures to get possession of it and the attempt is disrupted by the unlawful activities of others. That pre-possessory interest is a qualified right to possession that can be used to establish a conversion claim.
Popov and Hayashi were both in attendance at a baseball game in San Francisco. Baseball great Barry Bonds hit a ball in their way. Popov first caught the ball, but owing to the throng around him, he lost his balance and lost control of the ball.
Hayashi snatched the ball off the ground and kept it for himself. Popov attempted to reclaim the ball from Hayashi, which led to a dispute over who was the real owner. Popov filed a conversion action.
ISSUE/ QUESTION: Is it possible to bring a conversion action if the plaintiff does not have entire ownership or title?
CONCLUSION: Where the plaintiff possesses title, possession, or the right to possession, he or she may bring a conversion action. Mr. Popov now has a qualified right to possession based on a conversion theory, thanks to the recognition of a legally protected pre-possessory interest. It also addresses the harm caused by the crowd’s illegal conduct. Despite the fact that Mr. Hayashi ended up with the real object, Mr. Popov has a pre-possession claim to ball. This suggests that both guys had a legitimate claim to the ball, yet neither claim was more compelling than the other. As a result, the court ordered that the ball be auctioned and the money shared equally among the males.
The Law Book: From Hammurabi to the International Criminal Court, 250 Milestones in the History of Law (Sterling Milestones) Hardcover – Illustrated, 22 Oct. 2015, English edition by Michael H. Roffer (Autor)