Facts: P had information of where to find a ship wreck with a booty of lead that had been
abandoned by the owners. P went to ascertain the exact locality in the bed of the river
and with the intent to raise the sunken lead, he arrived at the spot of the wreak with his
diving boat and fastened a buoy as a weight that rested upon the wreak with the
expectation of putting his boat over it the next day, but became detained by other
business. In the mean time, D used their boat to find the wreck and took the lead. P had
used markings on trees to find the spot of the wreck. Trial court found for P.
Issue: Did P, by means of occupancy, and the use of the buoy and tree markings gain
possession of the booty that D violated?
Holding: Reversed.
Rationale:
– P’s use of tree markings and temporary buoys are not adequate evidence that he
claimed possession over the wreck, they are merely indications of his desire and
intent to appropriate the property. Had he placed his boat over the spot (which he
refused to do) this would have acted as a guard against other ships which would
have forced other men to oblige that he is taking possession of the wreak
Distinguish between manure case: There, the P was the one who labored and serviced the
public good better by heaping the manure. In this case, D is the one who labors more and
acquires the equipment and toils to remove the wreckage. Also, in the manure case,
reasonable time had not elapsed to consider the property abandoned, in this case, months
had passed and can reasonably be considered abandoned.