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 PROPERTY
Practice Problems

First Acquisition

01
Conquest

1.  Archer claims title to a parcel of land in Florida dating back to a 1858 grant from the Seminole Indian Tribe. Barry claims title to a parcel of land in Florida dating back to a 1896 grant of land from the State of Florida.

Who has superior title to the land?

02
Capture

1.  Recall the facts of Pierson v. Post. Suppose that instead of intending to capture the fox, Pierson (the farmer) intends to deny Post (the hunter) the ability to capture it. 

Same result as Pierson?

2.  A group of friends go on a hunting trip on a piece of private property that one of the friends owns. During the hunting trip, one of the friends shoots and kills a fox. However, upon returning to camp, another member of the group claims that the fox was actually shot on a neighboring piece of property which they own and that they should be the rightful owner of the deer. 

 

Who is the owner of the fox, the person who killed the fox or the person who owns the land?

3.  A wealthy real estate developer, Malory, purchases a large tract of land in rural western Miami Dade County to build a luxury housing community bordering the Everglades. As part of the landscaping for the development, Malory dredges a small lake stocked with fish located near a public nature trail. To stock the lake, Malory hires a company to capture and transport wild fish from the Everglades.

 

A group of fishers, thinking they are within the boundaries of the national park, fish Malory’s lake, taking fish worth $3,500.

 

What remedies, if any, does Malory have against the fishers?

4.  Suppose that instead of stocking the lake, Malory leaves the lake empty. After flooding from a Hurricane, the lake is stocked with fish. The fishers then unintentionally trespass and fish the lake.

 

What remedies, if any, does Malory have against the fishers?

5.  Archer is at a bar on South Beach. Drunk, he goes to the shore and pours his drink into the ocean. He loudly proclaims himself King and sole owner of the Atlantic Ocean, as he mixed his labor with the ocean.

 

Does Archer now legally own the Atlantic Ocean through his accession?

6.  Cheryl owns unimproved land with a large deposit of clay worth $100. Pam enters Cheryl’s land, thinking it is part of a National Park. She harvests Cheryl’s clay, and kiln fires it into bricks worth $5,000.

 

What are Cheryl’s remedies?

What if Pam instead was a willful trespasser?

How much is Cheryl entitled to if she sues for conversion?

7.  Malory contracts with Ramon to remodel her South Beach Condo while she is vacationing in Paris. Instead of remodeling Malory’s condo, the building superintendent lets her into Rudy’s condo, who is away in Cuba. Rudy returns from his trip aghast at Ramon’s actions and Malory’s tastes in interior décor.

 

What are Rudy’s remedies?

What are Ramon’s remedies?

8.  Ghen is a whaler pursuing a whale off Cape Cod. He shoots the whale with a special whale hunting device, and the whale instantly dies. The whale sinks and two days later is discovered on a beach by Ellis, who sells it to Rich.

 

Whaling is a major industry in the area, and the custom is that the finder of the dead whale is entitled to a salvage fee upon returning the slain whale to the whaler.

 

Who is the owner of the whale? 

Note: these are the basic facts of Ghen v. Rich.

9.  The water of the Colorado River is subject to competing claims. Seven states have signed the Colorado River Compact, which allocated more water to themselves than is in existence in the River. Mexico and various Native American Tribes are not part of this agreement. In 2023, a twenty plus year drought threatens to completely dry the river out.

 

Who has superior title to the water from the Colorado River?

What regulatory tools best address the drying of the Colorado River?

What moral tools are available?

10.  Ray, a simple country farmer, harvests 500 tons of wheat. Ray deposits the grain into his grain silo. The next day, Archer accidently deposits 500 tons of wheat into Ray’s grain silo instead of his own. Ray mills all of the wheat into flour and sells the flour for $500,000. 

What is Archer entitled to recover from Ray, if anything?

What if instead Archer intentionally mixed the grains, and then fraudulently sold the entire harvest as his own?

03
Ownership

1.  A property owner has a "no trespassing" sign posted on their land, but a group of hikers frequently ignore the sign and use the property for recreational activities. 

 

Can the property owner contact the local authorities to issue a citation to the hikers for trespassing?

2.  A landlord includes a clause in a lease agreement stating that tenants are not allowed to have pets in the rental property. A tenant moves in with a dog. 

 

Can the landlord evict the tenant for violating the lease agreement?

3.  A property owner installs a fence around their property to keep out unwanted visitors. A neighbor regularly climbs over the fence to access a path that runs through the property, despite the property owner's objections. 

 

Can the property owner take legal action to stop the neighbor from trespassing?

4.  A developer wants to build a housing project on a piece of land, but the land is home to a protected species of animal. 

 

Must the developer obtain a special permit from the government in order to exclude the animals from the land before starting construction?

5.  A property owner rents out their vacation home on a short-term, monthly basis on AirBnB. They post signs in the home that renters are not allowed to have parties or gatherings on the property. The renter throws a loud party.

 

Can the owner terminate the rental agreement and have the renters arrested for trespassing?

6.  In 1971, two employees of a nonprofit charity enter upon private farm land to provide medical and legal aid to migrant farm workers living on the land. The farm owner has them arrested for trespass.

 

Did the employees commit trespass to the farmer’s land?

Are their actions excused by necessity?

Note: these are the facts of State v. Shack

7.  Malory owns a beachfront mansion on Palm Beach Island worth $35 million. According to her title, her home includes the front yard, a small grass back yard, a sea wall, and the dry sand (the backshore) extending to the high water line.

Can Malory build a fence around the dry sand to exclude the public from her land?

8.  Malory owns a beachfront mansion on Palm Beach Island worth $35 million. According to her title, her home includes the front yard, a small grass back yard, a sea wall, and the dry sand (the backshore) extending to the high water line.

 

In 2022, a Tropical Storm hits Palm Beach County, and the foreshore is eroded such that high tide now comes up to her sea wall. Under Florida law, the foreshore is held in the public trust.

 

In 2024, the Federal government spends $35 million dollars to renourish the beach her property sits own. 

 

Does Malory regain ownership over the newly renourished backshore?

04
Creation

(Intellectual Property I)

1.  Alicent posts a video of an large fiery explosion at a factory on her Snapchat. A news organization discovers the video and republishes it on their website without giving proper credit or obtaining permission from the original source. Alicent’s video is the only know footage of the explosion.

 

Alicent, an independent journalist, had spent considerable time and effort to report and verify this video, and did not give permission for the news organization to use her story. 

 

Does Alicent have a claim against the news organization?

2.  Privacy Right Hypos

A.  Malory posts that her neighbor “Trudy seems like the kind of person who would abuse animals” on a Neighborhood Facebook page.

B.  Cyril takes a photo of Burt Reynolds in public. Archer then uses that picture to promote a whiskey, claiming that Mr. Reynolds is a pleased customer.

C.  Barry installs a Ring camera in his backyard. Barry intentionally points the so that it can see into his neighbor Katya’s bathroom. Barry’s camera records Katya while she is getting dressed, in addition to his backyard.

D.  Archer and Lana get into a loud argument about their intimacies in public.

E.  Cheryl tells her best friend, Pam, in confidence, that she was just diagnosed with HIV. Pam then posts “thoughts and prayers, my girl got the AIDS” on her Instagram page. She tags Cheryl in the post.

F.  A TV station runs a news story on corrupt slumlords. The station has their news reporter, Lana, film her story in from of some apartments owned by Woodhouse, despite Woodhouse being a law-abiding landlord. 

Do any of the individuals in the prior hypos have a claim for a violation of a right to privacy? If so, which one?

3.  A person makes a YouTube deepfake of a celebrity to raise awareness of the advances in technology.

Does the celebrity have a claim that their right of publicity has been violated?

Does it matter if the video disclaims the identity of or relationship to the celebrity?

4.  The right of publicity is most commonly used as a way for celebrity's to stop others from profiting off the hard work they expended becoming a person of celebrity status.

Could the same rule be used to stop companies or the government from harvesting massive quantities of biometric data?

Should private members of society have a right of publicity in their own face?

05
Creation

(Intellectual Property II)

1.  Patent Hypos

A.  A medical device for treating diabetics.

B.  A method for treating diabetics using a medical device.

C.  A drug for treating diabetes.

D.  A manufacture of peanuts to form a flavoring-paste from said peanuts and a composition of matter to form sweetness and candy using a grind-milling machine.

E.  A method for inducing cats to exercise consisting of directing a beam of invisible light produced by a laser unto the floor or wall or other opaque surface in the vicinity of the cat.

F.  A manufacture for protecting the ears of dogs from exposure using two cylinders attached to the dogs head by means of a elastic band.

Which of the prior examples are patent eligible?

2.  Copyright Hypos

A.  A picture of the moon you took with a telescope

B.  A recipe cookbook

C.  A trivia book about the Harry Potter movies

D.  Memorizing the script of a Harry Potter movie

E.  A song recording of a music composition in the public domain

F.  An ornamental buckle on a dress

G.  An ornamental buckle on a briefcase

H.  A parody book called Mary Rotter and the Chamber of Toilets

I.  A discovered bacterium

J.  A picture of a discovered bacterium in a book 

K.  The Four Chord Song

L.  An oral performance of the Four Chord Song

M.  A cover of the Four Chord Song

Which of the prior examples are copyright eligible?

3. Trademark Hypos

A.  Exxon

B.  Kleenex

C.  Dunkin Donuts

D.  Apple

E.  Netflix

F.  Delta

G.  Best Buy

H.  Pepsi

I.  Lexus

J.  Microsoft

K.  Aspirin

L.  Coppertone

M.  Coca-Cola

Which of the prior examples are trademark eligible?

What is the Abercrombie strength of each mark?

How many of the prior examples are marks that refer to multiple products or services?

How many of the prior examples are marks that have become or are generic terms for products or services?

06
Finders

1.  Barry steals a valuable watch from Cheryl. At an office meeting, Len learns of Barry’s theft and takes it from him. Barry sues Len for replevin.

 

 

Can Len defend himself on the grounds that Barry is a thief?

2.  Malory purchased a painting to hang in her office. Malory gives the painting to Archer, her son, with the note “if and when you don’t have a place to hang it, I want it back.” Malory keeps the bill of sale for the painting. 

 

Archer moves overseas and can’t take the painting with him. He gives it to an art dealer on consignment. Barry steals the painting and sells it to Pam. The police recover the painting from Pam.

Who should the police return the painting to?

3. Finders Hypos

A.  An old briefcase containing papers in a classroom.

B.  An old briefcase containing a laptop on a park bench.

C.  An old and empty briefcase in a trash can.

D.  An antique clock found in the attic of a recently purchased home. The clock is covered in cobwebs.

E.  A chest with old coins buried in a back yard.

F.  Spanish gold bullion found in a 17th century shipwreck off the coast of Florida.

G.  A chest with old coins sealed behind the drywall of a home.

H.  An Apple watch found on the floor of a doctor’s office.

I.  An Apple watch found in a trash can at school.

In the previous examples, which are lost, mislaid, abandoned, or trove?

4.  Cheryl collects Pokémon cards. Her collection is worth $50,000.00. Last year, she donates a dresser to charity. Barry finds Cheryl’s Pokémon cards in the dresser and advertises them for sale on a nationwide Facebook marketplace page.

 

Cheryl sees the ad and demands the cards be returned to her. Barry refuses. Cheryl sues, and Barry raises the venerable defense of “finders keepers, losers weepers.

 

 

Is Cheryl’s action one for replevin or trover?

Who gets the Pokémon cards?

5.  Krieger is paranoid and doesn’t trust the government. He buries a small chest containing $20,000 in cash and a flash drive wallet with 30 BTC in his backyard. He dies several years later, leaving his property to his son, Krieger Jr.

 

Krieger Jr. sells his property to Archer. Archer hires Woodhouse to re-landscape the backyard. In re-landscaping  the property Woodhouse finds the chest.

 

Krieger Jr., Archer and Woodhouse all claim the chest. Who wins?

(Hint: who is the true owner of the chest?)

Was the money lost, mislaid, abandoned, or a treasure trove?

Assume Krieger Jr. cannot be found. Who gets the chest, Archer or Woodhouse?

6.  Lana is diving off the cost of Fort Lauderdale when she finds a shipwreck of a 17th century Spanish Galleon. Inside the ship are gold coins worth $25m. Without damaging the ship, Lana removes the coins and leaves the wreck. She then notifies the State of Florida so the State can preserve the wreck.

 

Florida Law vests title to submerged shipwrecks in the State and prohibits salvage without a permit. 

 

Who is the owner of the gold coins?

Should the law be changed to reward salvage?

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