Law School Discussion

Adverse Possession of Chattels?

Adverse Possession of Chattels?
« on: November 07, 2006, 09:24:51 PM »
Can a thief ever acquire title to the chattel that he stole?

For instance:

  If someone steals a vase, the true owner then finds out whole stole it but does nothing, and the SOL of 5 years runs, can the thief ever have a good title to the vase.  The UCC says that a thief cannot obtain a valid title. 

It seems like letting the thief acquire it, even by adverse possession, would serve to promote theft.

I understand that a good faith purchaser (one who purchases from a thief, not knowing the vase was stolen) may obtain possession by adverse possession.

Re: Adverse Possession of Chattels?
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2006, 11:22:41 AM »
No.

Re: Adverse Possession of Chattels?
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2006, 04:33:23 PM »
My tutor told me today that the courts are divided on this issue:

The majority says that theives may never gain title

The minority says that thieves may gain title if the SOL runs after the true owner finds out who they are

I am coming to realize that my tutors are full of crap and not very helpful

Re: Adverse Possession of Chattels?
« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2006, 06:29:41 PM »
I think in some cases that the courts have held you can adversely possess chattels.  I read some case last year from New York involving a stolen piece of artwork that involved adverse possession.

J D

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Re: Adverse Possession of Chattels?
« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2006, 06:33:54 PM »
A lot of these cases, though, are handled by the good-faith purchaser doctrine.  See UCC 2-403.