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FINDER

One who lawfully comes into possession of another's lost personal property.

The finder is entitled to certain rights and liable to duties which he is obliged to perform. This is a species of deposit which, as it does not arise ex contractu may be called a quasi deposit, and it is governed by the same general rules as common deposits. The finder is required to take the same reasonable care of the found property as any voluntary depositary ex contractu.

The finder is not bound to take the goods he finds yet, when he does undertake the custody, he is required to exercise reasonable diligence in preserving the property and he will be responsible for gross negligence. Some of the old authorities laid down that 'if a man find butter, and by his negligent keeping it putrify; or if a man find garments, and by his negligent keeping they be moth eaten, no action lies.' So it is if a man find goods and lose them again. But while these cases do not decide the point as broadly as it is stated, a finder would doubtless he held responsible for gross negligence.

On the other hand, the finder of an article is entitled to recover all expenses which have necessarily occurred in preserving the thing found. For example, if a man were to find an animal, he would be entitled to be reimbursed for his keeping, for advertising in a reasonable manner that he had found it, and to any reward which may have been offered by the owner for the recovery of such lost thing.

When the owner does not reclaim the lost goods, they belong to the finder. The acquisition of treasure by the finder is evidently founded on the rule that what belongs to none naturally, becomes the property of the first occupant.

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