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Wetherbee v. Green

(1871)

Michigan Supreme Court - 22 Mich. 311

tl;dr:

When a person accidentally trespasses, takes chattels from the land of another, and then greatly increases the value of the chattels, the owner of the land can only recover for the trespass.

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Facts & HoldingWetherbee v. Green case brief facts & holding

Facts:Wetherbee unknowingly trespassed on Green's land and cut timber from...

Holding:Where an unintentional trespasser transforms chattels found on someone else's...

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Wetherbee v. Green | Case Brief DeepDive
Majority opinion, author: Cooley, J.
Level 1
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The case involves a dispute over a replevin suit where the lower court erred in not accepting the claim of a valid license. The case examines whether a person who takes another's property in good faith and transforms it into a more valuable form has acquired a property interest that prevents the owner from reclaiming it. The law recognizes a change of title when goods are transformed, and the owner of the transformed goods is the one who contributed the most labor to create it. The value of the labor is more important than the value of the original materials, and the law aims to achieve substantial equity. The law aims to protect the ownership of property while also considering the rights of the other party involved.

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