Property Law Outline - Principle of Accession

    All deal with the fact that A owns X and wants to own Y because of Y's relationship with X.
  1. Doctrine of Increase
    1. Comes into play when animals wander to another's property and give birth.
    2. Rule: The increase in property goes to the property owner, not the locus owner.
      1. Only applies to domestic/tame animals that wander.
      2. Very labor theory intensive - put work into raising the animal, should get the benefits.
    1. Ex. Carruth v. Easterling
      1. A's cow wandered onto B's property and had calves. A and B both wanted possession of the calves.
      2. Held that for tame, domesticated animals, offspring goes to the mother's owner.
  1. Doctrine of Accession
    1. Comes into play when one person adds to the property of another either labor or labor and new materials.
    1. Rule: ownership depends on 3 factors…
      1. The mental state of the improver
        1. Most hold good faith is necessary for accession.
        2. If improver knows they are trespassing, it is conversion, original owner gets full value.
      1. The degree of transformation of property
        1. Huge transformation weighs in favor of compensating improver.
        2. Small/no transformation weighs in favor of giving full property to original owner.
      1. Relative values contributed
        1. If the final product is of much greater value than the raw materials, weighs in favor of compensating improver.
          1. Ex. Wetherbee v. Green (Supp)
            1. A, relying on permission that he supposes came from B, enters B's land, cuts timber, and makes hoops from the timber. The standing timber was worth $25; the hoops are worth $700.
            1. Held that the hoops belong to A under accession though B can sue for the price of the standing timber.
  1. Ad Coelum Rule
    1. "For whoever owns the soil, it is theirs up to Heaven and down to Hell."
    2. Ex. Edwards v. Sims (Supp)
      1. Man discovered cave entrance on his land. Cave extended under neighbor's land.
      2. Held that the cave should be split up according to whose land it was under because of above maxim.
        1. Dissent argued that the cave should belong to whoever controlled access, put work into discovering it. Labor theory makes more sense here.
    1. This rule is seen as inefficient and unfair.
      1. Just as someone is not prevented from flying airplanes over your land, neither should someone be prevented from giving a tour in a cave below the surface of your land.
  1. Doctrine of Accretion
    1. Definitions
      1. Accretion is the gradual deposit by water of solid material producing land that was covered by water before.
        1. Boundaries move with the changes in the land and water.
      1. Avulsion is a sudden change in land caused by flowing water.
        1. Boundaries remain where they were before the sudden change.
    1. Ex. Nebraska v. Iowa (Supp)
      1. Dispute over boundary between states when a river changed its course.
      1. Held that there are two property rules for boundaries along water…
        1. Rule of Accretion - When the banks are changed gradually, the boundary remains on the river (land can be gained or lost based upon accretion).
        1. Rule of Avulsion - When the river suddenly abandons its old bed and seeks a new bed, the boundary remains where it was before the change.
      1. Because boundary changed rapidly in 1877, boundary remains where it was before the avulsion.