Paul rented 123 Main Street. When he moved, Dana moved into 123 Main Street.

When she moved in, Dana found a nameplated copy of One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest that Paul had left behind. She immediately threw it away.

When Paul returned to the house for the book, he accidentally left behind his nameplated copy of A Tale of Two Cities. Dana found it and immediately threw it away.

As he walked home, a nameplated copy of Three Little Pigs fell out of Paul's backpack and landed on the sidewalk. Dana found it and immediately threw it away.

In a common-law jurisdiction, does Paul have a civil claim against Dana to recover the value of any of his books?

  • 1
    As a factual question, I think the core issue is whether Paul abandoned the property.
    – ohwilleke
    May 24, 2022 at 21:14

1 Answer 1


In the UK, a claim in bailment may arise if goods are lost, destroyed or stolen whilst in another party’s temporary control. Bailment can impose a duty of care to look after goods even in cases where there is no contractual agreement or if goods are found when lost. In some circumstances bailment can make the party in temporary possession a “strict liability insurer” of the goods if they are lost or destroyed, and may require payment in full to the owner for any loss.

Bailment can arise where goods are found by another party; the finder can then assume a duty in law to try and find the original owner, and can remain liable to compensate the owner if the goods are destroyed or lost, even if that owner is currently unknown.

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