Shepard v. Leverson
New Jersey Supreme Court
2 N.J.L. 392 (1808)
Leverson (plaintiff) placed oysters in a public river in which any person was permitted to fish. Though oysters are stationary once placed in the sand, through reproduction they may proliferate throughout the river. Shepard and Layton (defendants) removed 1,000 oysters from the area where Leverson had established a bed, and Leverson brought an action of trover and conversion against Shepard and Layton. Leverson argued that his oysters were not added to the river’s common stock because he had placed his bed in an area separate from others and had regularly returned to the bed and took oysters. Leverson did not have any grant or title to the space where he placed the oysters, nor did he claim any other private right to fish in that portion of the river. Leverson claimed that ownership of the oysters was vested in him by occupancy and that his property right could not be terminated unless he abandoned the oyster bed. Similar oyster beds were maintained by others elsewhere in the river. The members of this community, through mutual agreement, did not disturb the beds of others because it was considered mutually beneficial for oysters to exist and reproduce in the river. The trial court agreed with Leverson, after which Shepard and Layton appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Kirkpatrick, C.J.)
What to do next…
Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.
You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 724,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Berkeley, and Northwestern—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students.Unlock this case briefRead our student testimonials
Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.
Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students.Learn about our approachRead more about Quimbee
Here's why 724,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 45,600 briefs, keyed to 983 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
- The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
- Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
- Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.