Popov v. Hayashi (WL 31833731 Ca. Sup. Ct. 2002)

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Facts:
  • A man reaches to grab a home-run ball
  • He is mobbed and drops it
  • The ball then rolls to another man, who was not involved in the mob
  • The ball is sold on eBay for $450,000
  • The first man sues
Issue:
  • Is ‘almost’ control good enough for possession? (US Case)

Held:

  • The first man had a ‘pre-possessory interest’ that was interrupted by the second man
  • “Possession is a blurred combination of law and fact”
  • Gray’s rule: you must exert possession over uncontrollable incidents
  • It was necessary to punish the mob, but that was not possible
  • Popov did not have full possession
  • The most equitable thing to do was to split it evenly

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