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Goddard v. Winchell

Law Dictionary

Law Dictionary

Featuring Black's Law Dictionary 2nd Ed.
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Property Law Keyed to Cribbet

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Bloomberg Law

Citation. 22 Ill.86 Iowa 71, 52 N.W. 1124 (1892)

Brief Fact Summary. Replevin action where Plaintiff owned land upon which a meteorite fell and was recovered by a third party accompanied by Plaintiff’s lessee and sold to Defendant.

Synopsis of Rule of Law. Whatever is affixed to the soil is a part of the soil and no one may take such items away without the consent of the property owner.

Facts. Plaintiff Goddard owned prairie land which was leased to Elickson upon which, during the term of the lease, a meteorite fell. Elickson accompanied Hoagland, a neighboring land owner, who dug up the 66 pound meteorite valued at $101.00. Thereafter, Hoagland sold the meteorite to Defendant Winchell, who was aware that the meteorite had fallen south of Hoagland’s land. Plaintiff filed a Writ of Replevin in the District Court to have the Court order the meteorite returned. The District Court ruled that the meteorite became a part of the soil upon which it fell to a depth of 3 feet and thus belonged to the Plaintiff.

Issue. Is the meteorite a part of the land upon which it falls and thus owned by the owner of such land, or is the meteorite a movable object which if unclaimed belongs to any person who might claim it?
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