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Fisher v. Steward
New Hampshire Supreme Court
1 Smith 60 (1804)
Abraham Fisher (plaintiff) discovered a swarm of bees in a tree that was located on land owned by Jonas Steward (defendant). Fisher marked the tree and notified Steward of the discovery. Steward cut down the tree and used the honey produced by the bees for his own purposes. Fisher brought an action in trover for the bees and for 200 pounds of honey in the comb. The questions raised at trial were whether Fisher had first discovered the bees and, if so, whether Fisher had a property right to the bees’ honey. Fisher did not claim to have a property right to Steward’s land, the tree, or the bees. The New Hampshire Supreme Court addressed the issue of whether Fisher’s discovery of the bees gave him a property right to the honey. The court also addressed the issue of whether to apply the local custom of granting a property right in bees to the person who finds the bees.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning
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