Saturday, December 1, 2012

Eads v. Brazelton case brief

Eads v. Brazelton
Property Law Case Brief

First Discovery.

Case Overview:

Brazelton (P) sued after Eads (D) salvaged a wreck that Brazelton had discovered.

Case Facts:
-Brazelton had learned that the wreck of a steamboat lay at the bottom of a river.
-In preparing to salvage the cargo, he marked trees on the adjacent riverbanks in such a way that indicated the location of the wreck.
-Approximately one month later, he placed a buoy directly over the wreck.
-Just as Brazelton was about to begin the work of raising the sunken cargo, he learned of a different wreck and opted to pursue that wreck instead.
-This second salvage operation took considerable time; the original wreck had been discovered in December, but Brazelton did not return to it until the following June.
-By then, conditions in the river prevented him from revisiting the wreck.
-As a result, Eads was able to salvage the cargo instead.

May the discoverer of a wreck claim ownership of that wreck simply by virtue of having marked its location?


The discoverer may not claim ownership through such markings.


Although Brazelton intended to make the wreck his property, his claim ul- timately fails because he did not take possession of the wreck. Taking pos- session does not necessarily require him to lay hands on the wreck, but it requires more than marking nearby trees to indicate its location. Brazelton should have placed his own boat over the wreck as a warning to intruders. Having chosen to pursue a different salvage operation, he cannot now com- plain that he lost his chance to gain the original wreck.

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