Document Type


Publication Date

January 1991




For many first-year law students, the course in real property begins with the case of Eads v. Brazelton. The choice is well-considered, because the case allows the teacher to delve simultaneously into the laws of prior possession and finder's rights. Eads is a Mid-South version of Pierson v. Post, but thesuit is less shallow and the facts more appealing; something of value, other than a hunter's wounded pride, is at stake. Although decided in 1861, Eads continues to serve as authority for clearing title by abandonment. Additionally, the case enjoys renewed application for its rule of capture. Modern salvage cases rely on Eads to settle disputes between competingclaimants. This demonstrates the continuity of property law; that a case decided in the nineteenth century can serve as the lens through which twentieth century facts can be analyzed is a tribute to the flexibility and continuing vitality of cases such as Eads.