Armory v. Delamirie

King’s Bench, 1722.

1 Sess. Cas. K.B. 505.

Facts

Plaintiff is a chimney sweep’s boy, Defendant is a jewelry store. Plaintiff finds jewel in a chimney, takes it to the store to have it evaluated for price. Store loses jewel while evaluating it. Plaintiff seeks an action of trover (common law action to recover the value of personal property.

Issue

The boy finds something that was lost. Is it any more of the plaintiff’s right or defendant’s right to own or to be able to recover the value of the item?

Arguments for Both Parties

Plaintiff states that since he found it, it is his property and recovery of value is substantiated. Defendant states that the item was just a lost and found item and that if anyone should recover the damages, it should be the original owner.

Holding

The court holds that the finder of lost property does not hold ownership because he found it, but if there should be anyone to own it other than the original true owner, it should be to the finder. The court holds that the plaintiff recover from the defendant the value of the very best stone that could have fit in the place where the stone once was set.

Rule

The finder of lost property does not hold ownership because he found it, but if there should be anyone to own it other than the original true owner, it should be to the finder.

Policy Arguments

By allowing the finder to have claim, it allows for the lost property to enter the marketplace at the most efficient and open passage. This also allows the true owner, if one should ever stake the claim, to have the most efficient way of getting the lost property back.

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