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Corliss v. Wenner

    Brief Fact Summary.

    Corliss appealed the judgment of the trial court that granted ownership of gold coins he found constructing a driveway on Wenner’s property to the landowner.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law.

    Any property embedded in soil is in the legal possession of the landowner.

    Facts.

    Wenner hired Anderson and Corliss to construct a driveway on Wenner’s ranch. Anderson and Corliss uncovered gold coins in a glass jar and argued over possession of the coins. Anderson fired Corliss and gave Wenner the coins in exchange for his exoneration. Corliss sued Wenner and Anderson for possession of the coins. The trial court granted judgment in favor of Wenner.

    Issue.

    Whether property embedded in soil is the property of the landowner?

    Held.

    Yes. Because the coins were uncovered on Wenner’s property, Wenner has rightful possession of the coins. The judgment of the trial court is affirmed.

    Discussion.

    Landowners maintain possessory interest in any objects uncovered on their property.


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