Case 1 and Case 2 (second fact situation). These cases concern the transfer of derivative possession of land. In general, the specific issues they consider would not arise under modern statutes that require the recording of deeds of conveyance (even if mortgagees will generally not accept a deed as security unless the parcel has been surveyed anew with each conveyance). In the ancient common law, transfer of the ownership interest in a freehold was accomplished by means of “livery of seisin,” originally symbolized by the physical transfer from hand to hand of a clod of earth from the land in question. Still in the modern American doctrine of adverse possession, a common source of litigation is the physical extent of an adverse possessory interest. See, e.g., van Valkenburgh v. Lutz, 106 N.E. 2d 28 (1952).
Cases 2 (first fact situation) and Cases 3–7. These cases concern the transfer of possession of movables and turn on whether the nature of the transfer is sufficient to satisfy the physical requirement of corpus (corpore). The principles are relevant to any legal transaction where “delivery” of tangible property from one party to another is involved. Apart from the relevant common law rules, in the United States the delivery of “goods” in commercial transactions is now mostly regulated by provisions of the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC), as enacted in the statutes of every state, the District of Columbia, and the Virgin Islands.4 The UCC defines “delivery” as: “ . . . with respect to goods, the voluntary transfer of physical possession or control of goods.” Although the UCC distinguishes the “tender” of delivery from the “acceptance” of delivery, a seller who tenders is normally entitled to the buyer’s acceptance. Since possession (and the consequent risk of loss) can only be in the buyer or the seller, the factual issues of when and whether delivery has been effected are therefore just as relevant under the UCC as in Roman law.
Do the following provisions of the UCC and Restatement Second of Property yield the same results as the Roman rules in the indicated cases? Are there additional factual or legal issues that would need clarification in order to answer these questions?
Cases 8–9. The common law “rule of capture” is illustrated by the two English cases included in the Casebook. Also see Charles Donahue, Jr. “Animalia ferae naturae: Bologna, Leyden, Oxford, and Queen’s County, NY,” in Studies in Memory of A. Arthur Schiller, Roger A. Bagnall, A. Arthur Schiller, and William Vernon Harris eds., Leiden, Brill, 1986, 39-63.
Cases 10–11. These cases concern acts that under the UCC would raise an issue of whether the goods have been “accepted” in a manner that completes their delivery. See UCC § 2-606 (2003)(1). “Acceptance of goods occurs when the buyer: . . . (c) Subject to Section 2-608(4), does any act inconsistent with the seller’s ownership.”
4 It should be noted that the UCC and other Uniform Laws, as well as the Federal and the State Codes of Civil Procedure, themselves reflect the influence of the “codification movement,” which is a hallmark of the civilian tradition.