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Pierson v Post case brief + full opinion

here you will see the Pierson v Post case brief.

Pierson v Post is a fundamental case in American property law.

Despite the fact that the Pierson v Post case was merely over which of two men right to own a fox, resolving it required determining when a wild animal becomes “property.”

Here I will share with you the Pierson v Post case brief to help you understand everything you need to know about the Pierson v Post case in a simple and accurate way.

Interested in learning how to write your own case brief? learn here

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Pierson v Post case brief

Pierson v. Post – 3 Cai. R. 175, 1805 N.Y. LEXIS 311

Decided on, August 1805


Tompkins, J., New York Supreme Court of Judicature


Pierson is an Appellant and Lodowick Post is a Respondent.

Procedural History

Respondent sued Appellant in a court of Queens County for trespass. The court decided in the Respondent’s favor.

The Appellant appealed to the New York Supreme Court of Judicature which reversed the decision of the trial court and ruled in favor of the Appellant.


Respondent was hunting a fox through a vacant lot.

The Appellant came across the fox, killed it, and carried it away, knowing it was being Hunted by Respondent.

Respondent filed a trespass suit against Appellant, seeking damages for his possession of the fox.

Respondent asserted that chasing an animal in the process of hunting was sufficient to establish ownership.

The trial court ruled in Respondent’s favor.

As a result of the appellant’s dissatisfaction with that ruling, he filed this appeal.


whether one could obtain property rights to a wild animal by mere hunting


Hunt by itself confers no property or title on a huntsman, and Hunting combined with wounding is similarly ineffective unless the animal is actually taken.


When applying the rule to the fact the court reasoned that Finding and pursuing a wild animal does not entitle a person to ownership. Even injuring the animal does not give you the right to keep it. To be considered in possession of an animal, it must be captured or killed.

Therefore the Respondent would be termed to possess the fox only if he captured or killed it.


No, one could not obtain property rights to a wild animal by mere hunting.


The decision of the trial court was reversed.

Dissenting Opinion

Justice Livingston dissented. The authorities listed in the majority opinion did not satisfy Livingston.

Justice Livingston opined that stated that chase should be regarded as sufficient because it encourages hunters to eradicate the fox from the countryside.

Livingston also noted that possession might be viewed in relative terms, with the hunter’s continuing pursuit being only a formality of the hunter’s pre-existing control.

Read the full Judgment here

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Isack Kimaro
Isack Kimaro

Isack Kimaro, a lawyer, Creative Writer and self-taught SEO expert has been a prominent author of law-related topics since 2017. Through hard work, dedication, and a relentless pursuit of knowledge, Isack has successfully navigated the legal industry by providing valuable and easy-to-understand legal information to 500,000+ individuals of all levels of understanding.