In the 16th episode of the second season of Avatar: The Last Airbender (“Appa’s Lost Days”), the protagonist (P) Aang does not know the whereabouts of the flying sky bison Appa. As such P makes reasonable effort to secure this information. This he does by the posting of wanted posters:

yip yip!

The characters for sky bison are 飛天野牛, “flying sky wild cow.” If we are to assume that Appa is wild, does that entitle Aang to constructive possession (Pierson v. Post, 3 Cai. R. 175, 2 Am. Dec. 264 (N.Y. 1805))? Or has Appa been domesticated such that he might claim the initiation of a chain of title (Ghen v. Rich, 8 F. 159 (Mass. 1881))? If animus revertendi cannot be presumed (and in Gehn we see that the “l’homme moyen” standard set out by Quetelet is culturally dependent; could it really apply to non-Airbenders?), what is Appa’s status? Is he lost chattel, thus to be entitled to replevin only after presentation of proof of superior title (Bridges v Hawkesworth, (1851) 21 L.J.Q.B. 75, 15 Jur. 1079)? Or is he to be deemed mislaid and thus it is the responsibility of the locus in quo to maintain him as bailee until collection (McAvoy v. Medina, 93 Mass. (11 Allen) 548, 87 Am.Dec. 733 (1866))? Would he be forced to accept compensation under trover (Armory v. Delamirie, King’s Bench, 1 Strange 505 ((1722)) as claims are superior to those based on ratione soli only as adverse to fee simple holdings (Hannah v. Peel, King’s Bench Division, K.B. 509 (1945)) whereas the monarchical Earth Kingdom might likely enjoy allodial title, granting Appa as treasure (viz Paulus) to the sovereign via royal prerogative? This assumes that flying sky bisons are not ipso facto contraband in Ba Sing Se, for which Aang’s extracultural ignorance would not protect him from due process (United States v. Freed, 401 U.S. 601, 91 S. Ct. 1112, 28 L. Ed. 2d 356 (1971))?

Next week we examine the detinue case Comstock v DeWitt (Colum. 1912). Is “Bring us the girl and wipe away the debt” replevin or trover? YOU DECIDE!


~ by davekov on 15 September 2013.

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