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H. Transformation (Specification): Case 120

Chapter 3: Acquiring Ownership and Losing Ownership

Case 120.  Cf. 1 Am. Jur. 2d Accession and Confusion § 6 (2010):

. . .

One acting innocently under the mistake of right and without intention to commit a wrong, although technically a trespasser, may acquire a right of property by accession by the addition of labor and materials or accessories so as to constitute an integral part of it, and may be entitled to keep the improved chattel as his or her own, making compensation to the owner for what he or she took. In order for an innocent trespasser or a person acting under mistake of right to acquire title by accession by reason of improvements or changes made in personal property, most courts require that the identity of the original property be lost by its transformation into an article substantially different.” (footnotes omitted)

1 Am. Jur. 2d Accession and Confusion § 8 (2010) Significance of relative values

. . .

Significance of relative values.   In considering respective rights to an improved article, the question of how much property or labor each person has contributed to make it what it is may be of greater significance than the chemical change or mechanical transformation. Where it can be shown that the labor and materials of an innocent trespasser contributed more to the value of the present chattel than those materials that he or she took without intending a wrong, the trespasser is entitled to keep the chattel as his or her own, making due compensation to the owner of the materials. This rule is especially applicable to cases where the accession of value caused by the innocent trespasser's contribution to the original material is far beyond its original value. In such cases, a great injustice would result if the bona fide producer of the accession were to be deprived of that increased value.


Chapter 3: Introduction | A. Cases 67–71 | B. Cases 72–93
C. Cases 94–96 | D. Cases 97–98 | E. Cases 99–101
F. Cases 102–104 | G. Cases 105–119 | H. Case 120


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