Privilege

A finder of lost property may be entitled to the use or ownership if the real owner cannot be identified.  One is privileged to commit an act that would otherwise be a conversion if the act is essential to protect the actor’s land or chattels and the harm inflicted is not unreasonable as compared with the harm threatened.  A person has the privilege to commit an act that would otherwise amount to a conversion of chattel in the possession of another for the purpose of defending oneself or a third person against the other, under the same conditions that would afford a privilege to inflict a harmful or offensive contact upon the other for the same purpose.

A finder of a lost chattel in order to restore it to the owner can deliver it to the police, or other public officers, or the possessor of land, or of a vehicle of a public utility.  A person who properly exercises any privilege and commits a tort thereafter shall be liable for such torts and shall not be liable for original privileged acts.  In Fortress Pac. Equine, LLC v. Lyon (In re Classistar LLC), 2010 Bankr. LEXIS 830 (Bankr. E.D. Ky. Feb. 24, 2010), the court found that one is privileged to commit acts which would otherwise be a trespass to personal property or a conversion when the act is pursuant to a court order which is valid or fair on its face.


Inside Privilege