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L. & Eq. 424. In that case, the plaintiff, while in the defendant's shop on business, picked up from the floor a parcel containing bank notes. He gave them to the defendant for the owner if he could be found. The owner could not be found, and it was held that the plaintiff as finder was entitled to them, as against the defendant as owner of the shop in which they were found. “ The notes," said the court, “never were in the custody of the defendant nor within the protection of his house, before they were found, as they would have been if they had been intentionally deposited there.” The same in effect may be said of the notes in the case at bar; for though they were originally deposited in the safe by design, they were not so deposited in the safe, after it became the plaintiff's safe, so as to be in the protection of the safe as his safe, or so as to affect him with any responsibility for them. The case at bar is also in this respect like Tatum v. Sharpless, 6 Phila. 18. There it was held, that a conductor who bad found money which had been lost in a railroad car was entitled to it as against the railroad company.
The plaintiff also claims that the money was not lost, but designedly 3 left where it was found, and that therefore as owner of tbe safe he is entitled to its custody. He refers to cases in which it has been held, that money or other property voluntarily laid down and forgotten is not in legal contemplation lost, and that of such money or property the owner of the shop or place where it is left is the proper custodian rather than the person who happens to discover it first. State v. McCann, 19 Mo. 249 ; Lawrence v. The State, 1 Humph. 228; McAvoy v. Medina, 11 Allen, 549. It may be questioned whether this distinction has not been pushed to an extreme. See Kincaid v. Eaton, 98 Mass. 139. But however that may be, we think the money here, though designedly left in the safe, was probably not designedly put in the crevice or interspace where it was found, but that, being left in the safe, it probably slipped or was accidentally shoved into the place where it was found without the knowledge of the owner, and so was lost, in the stricter sense of the word. The money was not simply deposited and forgotten, but deposited and lost by reason of a defect or insecurity in the place of deposit.
The plaintiff claims that the finding was a wrongful act on the part of the defendant, and that therefore he is entitled to recover the money or to have it replaced. We do not so regard it. The safe was left with the defendant for sale. As seller he would properly examine it under an implied permission to do so, to qualify him the better to act as seller. Also under the permission to use it for his books, he would have the right to inspect it to see if it was a fit depository. And finally, as a possible purchaser he might examine it, for though he had once declined to purchase, he might on closer examination change his mind. And the defendant, having found in the safe something which did not belong there, might, we think, properly remove it. He certainly would not be expected either to sell the safe to another, or to buy it himself without first removing it. It is not pretended that he used any violence or did
Iratie Holmes entreizes this case
any harm to the safe. And it is evident that the idea that any trespass or tort had been committed did not even occur to the plaintiff's agent when he was first informed of the finding.
The general rule undoubtedly is, that the finder of lost property is the
We give the defendant judgment for costs.
Sewana Daniela HAMAKER v. BLANCHARD.
SUPREME COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA. 1879. uti findero n facef? [Reported 90 Pa. 377.]
Before SHARSWOOD, C. J., MERCUR, GORDON, PaxsON, WOODWARD, Rinderfor TRUNKEY, and STERRETT, JJ.
Lotiled Error to the Court of Common Pleas of Mifflin County: Of May
This was an appeal from the judgment of a justice of the peace. The material facts were these : Sophia Blanchard was a domestic servant in a hotel in Lewistown, of which the defendant was the proprietor. While thus employed, she found in the public parlor of the hotel, three twenty-dollar bills. On finding the money, she went with it to Mr. Hamaker, and informed him of the fact, and upon his remarking that he thought it belonged to a whip-agent, a transient guest of the hotel, she gave it to him, for the purpose of returning it to said agent. It was afterwards ascertained that the money did not belong to the agent, and no claim was made for it by any one. Sophia afterwards demanded the money of defendant, who refused to deliver it to her. Defendant admitted that he still had the custody of the money.
In the general charge the court (BUCHER, P. J.), inter alia, said : “ If you find that this was lost money, Hamaker did not lose it, and that it never belonged to him, but that it belonged to some one else who has not appeared to claim it, then you ought to find for the plaintiff, on the principle that the finder of a lost chattel is entitled to the possession and use of it as against all the world except the true owner. ... The counsel for the defendant asks us to say that as the defendant was the proprietor of a hotel and the money was found therein, the
on the prin use of it as defendant
1 See Elwes v. Brigg Gas Co., 33 Ch. D. 562.
It property is which it is ', except the perty has a valia
presumption of law is that it belonged to a guest, who had lost it, and that the defendant has a right to retain it as against this woman, the finder, to await the demand of the true owner. I decline to give you such instructions ; but charge you that under the circumstances there is no presumption of law that this money was lost by a guest at the hotel, and that the defendant is entitled to keep it as against this woman for the true owner.”
The verdict was for the plaintiffs for $60, with interest, and after judgment thereon, defendant took this writ and assigned for error the foregoing portions of the charge.
H. J. Culbertson, for plaintiff in error.
It seems to be settled law that the finder of lost property has a valid claim to the same against all the world, except the true owner, and generally that the place in which it is found creates no exception to this rule. But property is not lost, in the sense of the rule, if it was intentionally laid on a table, counter or other place, by the owner, who forgot to take it away, and in such case the proprietor of the premises is entitled to retain the custody. Whenever the surroundings evidence that the article was deposited in its place, the finder has no right of possession against the owner of the building. McAvoy v. Medina, 11 Allen (Mass.), 548. An article casually dropped is within the rule. Where one went into a shop, and as he was leaving picked up a parcel of bank notes, which was lying on the floor, and immediately showed them to the shopman, it was held that the facts did not warrant the supposition that the notes had been deposited there intentionally, they being manifestly lost by some one, and there was no circumstance in the case to take it out of the general rule of law, that the finder of a lost article is entitled to it as against all persons, except the real owner. Bridges v. Hawkesworth.
The decision in Mathews v. Harsell, 1 E. D. Smith (N. Y.), 393, is not in conflict with the principle, nor is it an exception. Mrs. Mathews, a domestic in the house of Mrs. Barmore, found some Texas notes, which she handed to her mistress, to keep for her. Mrs. Bar-. more afterwards intrusted the notes to Harsell, for the purpose of ascertaining their value, informing him that she was acting for her servant, for whom she held the notes. Harsell sold them, and appropriated the proceeds; whereupon Mrs. Mathews sued him and recovered their value, with interest from date of sale. Such is that case. True, Woodruff, J., says: “I am by no means prepared to hold that a house-servant who finds lost jewels, money or chattels, in the house of his or her employer, acquires any title even to retain possession against the will of the employer. It will tend much more to promote honesty and justice to require servants in such cases to deliver the property so found to the employer, for the benefit of the true owner.” To that remark, foreign to the case as understood by himself, he added the
INTRODUCTION TO THE LAW OF REAL PROPERTY.
prevails. You cannot owns is as you crown only owns, enseft,
usitn where ully
TENURE IN GENERAL.
t, there is no land is holden of Cundal.
Co. Lit. 65 a. For the better understanding of that which shall be said hereafter, it is to be knowne, that first, there is no land in England in the hands of any subject (as it hath been said) but it is holden of some lord by some kind of service, as partly hath been touched before. 1
2 Bl. Com. 59, 60. Thus all the land in the kingdom is supposed to be holden, mediately or immediately, of the king, who is styled the lord paramount, or above all. Such tenants as held under the king immediately, when they granted out portions of their lands to inferior persons, became also lords with respect to those inferior persons, as they were still tenants with respect to the king ; and, thus partaking of a middle nature, were called mesne, or middle, lords. So that if the king granted a manor to A., and he granted a portion of the land to B., now B. was said to hold of A., and A. of the king; or, in other words, B. held his lands immediately of A., but mediately of the king. The king therefore was styled lord paramount; A. was both tenant and lord, or was a mesne lord : and B. was called tenant paravail, or the lowest Fil lands tiek tenant; being he who was supposed to make avail, or profit of the mediorinned land. 1 Inst. 296.
1 " According to this position, of which the truth is undeniable, all the lands in Eng. land, except those in the king's hands, are feudal. This universality of tenures, if not quite peculiar to England, certainly doth not prevail in several countries on the conti. nent of Europe, where the feudal system has been established ; and it seems thero are some few portions of allodial land in the northern part of our own island." - Hargrave's note ad loc.
See Digby, Law Real Prop. c. 1, sect. 2, § 1,