BA. LLB. 2014
TO: Faiz Tajuddin
FROM: Satyam Singh
DATE: September 16, 2015
RE: Robert Langdon v. Springfield College of Law (Lost/Mislaid Wallet)
This memorandum analyses whether Robert Langdon, a construction worker, working at the Springfield College of Law in Cleveland, Ohio, be entitled to the possession of the wallet found on top of a duct behind a wall as the finder of “lost” property or will Springfield be entitled to hold on to the money as being “mislaid”, and keep the recuperated amount once the applicable statutory time has passed?
The Court is most likely to rule that the wallet was ...view middle of the document...
Therefore, Springfield College has a right to the possession of the wallet and the amount recovered from it, as against all but the true owner.
Statement of Facts
Robert Langdon, a construction worker currently working at the Springfield College of Law in Cleveland, Ohio, to help renovate the second floor of the law school. In August of 2015, while working on the walls in the far back corner of the second floor, Mr. Langdon found a dusty faded brown leather wallet sitting on top of a duct that was behind the wall. Inside the wallet, Langdon found $324 but no other items of identification. Based on the dates on the currency, Langdon believed that the wallet had been between the walls since perhaps 1972, but found no other evidence to how long the wallet was lying there.
Langdon conveyed his finding to the construction head, and then passed it over to the Springfield Security. Springfield intends to keep hold of the wallet as being mislaid, and intends to keep the money once the appropriate statutory time has passed. Since, nobody has come forth to claim the property; Langdon enquires whether he would be entitled to the property as finder of lost property.
It was ascertained that there are four categories of found properties (Benjamin v. Lindner Aviation). The categories were lost property, mislaid property, abandoned property and treasure troves. The present case deals only with “lost” and “mislaid” property.
Lost property requires that the parting of the possession from the property should be involuntary or unintentional and the owner does not know where the property is. Here the finder is entitled by common law to claim ownership of said property against all persons except the true owner.
Mislaid property requires that the owner voluntarily places the property at a particular place, that is, the place where it is discovered and the owner forgets where it was placed. Here, the owner of the premises where the property is found has the right of possession of the mislaid property against all persons other than the true owner.
The two determining factors of the nature of the found property in such cases are the location of the found property and the manner in which it was found.
1. The location of the property
In the present case the wallet was clearly not readily accessible as it was placed on top of a duct behind a wall. Furthermore, the placement of the wallet itself in such a discrete location reveals the owner’s intention to keep it hidden for future retrieval.
In the case of Benjamin v. Lindner Aviation INC., Benjamin found the bundle of money behind the panels of the underside of the wings of a plane. While, in Terry v. AD Lock the box containing $33810 was found on the vent of the ceiling of a room.
Based on the two precedents stated earlier, the property would be declared as mislaid as the property was not placed in an area where it was noticeable but hidden on top of a duct behind a wall giving a strong...