Saturday, March 11, 2006

Goddamn lawyers...

The saga of the Tim Hortons cup gets stranger. All of the people who responded to my previous post said the 10-year-old girl, or more specifically her parents, should get the prize.

However, now we have lawyers involved, so there is this bit of surreality. DNA testing on the Goddamn cup to determine who owned it before the girl found it. If this isn't the stupidest non-political thing to happen in Canada this year (so far) I'm open to suggestions as to what else might be.

You know, I'm cursing out lawyers here, and I should probably apologize to my friends who are lawyers because they would likely tell the person he's an idiot and it's his own bloody fault and does he really want to be known as the guy that's going to take a 10-year-old girl to court.

So it's not lawyers (well, it's still a nice chunk of lawyers), but humans. Goddamn humans. Pesky bastards...

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Mireille Sampson said...

The lawyers are really trying to squeeze all the cash out of this one. Himself was chatting with an RCMP officer aquaintence about this, the officer said the law is very clear: whoever threw it away doesn't own it anymore. Don't we have better things to use DNA testing facilities for?

I'm thinking the youngsters could likely have settled this in a far more sensible manner.

Anonymous said...

The case law on this is very clear, and has been for a long while.

A finder has a better claim to property than everyone except the 'true owner'. So says the old English cases of Armory v. Delamirie (1722) and Bridges v. Hawkesworth [1851]. This is why the man who bought the coffee cup - the 'true owner' - thinks he has a better right to it than the kids who found it.

BUT... abandonment matters, because it means the true owner loses their property right. Abandonment happens when an owner intentionally gives up possession without vesting ownership in another person.

It would appear that whoever tossed the cup into the garbage abandoned it. If this was their intention, they are out of luck, and the question of proving Mr. X was the original owner is moot.

I suspect the lawyer will try to argue that intent to throw out the cup is not the same as intent to abandon an interest in the prize winnings - that the cup just counts as proof of his entitlement to collect those winnings, and he did not intend to abandon that prize. I also supect he will lose, but property law is strange enough that you never know...

For those who look to precedent, the Tim Hortons Cup Case is analagous to the Canadian case of Millas v. B.C. (A.G.), in which an off duty cop found a million dollars in the trash at a public park. He was allowed to keep it.

BTW, Wikipedia has excellent information for every domain of law (though with an American emphasis), and we can refer to the entry for
Lost, mislaid, and abandoned property

I also heartily recommend Bruce Ziff, Principles of Property Law, which is the best Canadian introduction to property law. I'm sure future editions will make mention of the Tim Hortons Cup Case

regards, cat`