Friday, November 29, 2013

Wilcox v. Stroup case brief

Wilcox v. Stroup case brief summary
467 F.3d 409 (4th Cir. 2006)

Appellants, the State of South Carolina and officials, challenged a judgment from the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina, at Charleston, which reversed a decision of a bankruptcy court holding that papers from the administrations of two governors of South Carolina during the Civil War were part of appellee's estate and not public property.


  • The court held that because of appellee's family's possession of the papers, there was a presumption that appellee's family owned the papers. 
  • The court explained that absent evidence of superior title, the law presumed in favor of possession, for possession alone was prima facie evidence of a good title. 
  • Moreover, the presumption of private possession did not frustrate the public's interest because copies of the papers were available on microfilm. 
  • The court further concluded that appellants had not rebutted this presumption because it did not establish that South Carolina law at the relevant time treated gubernatorial papers as public property.

The court affirmed the judgment.

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