Bridges v. Hawkesworth Case Brief

Summary of Bridges v. Hawkesworth (1851)

Plaintiff finds $55 in defendant’s shop; asks defendant to hold it while he advertises it looking for the rightful owner. Owner never found, defendant refuses to return the money. Plaintiff sues, judge originally rules for shopkeeper, appellate court grants him the money on appeal.

Issue was that the money was found inside a private shop, which appellate court determined was not private because it was open to the public, in the sense that it would not entitle defendant shopkeeper to whatever was found in his shop. Lack of de facto control on part of the shopkeeper. Would have been a different case if money had been found in shopkeeper’s home.

de facto1) Actual; existing in fact; having effect even though not formally or legally recognized <a de facto contract> 2) Illegitimate, but in effect <a de facto government>.

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