Hodgeden v. Hubbard
VT Court - 1846
- P bought a stove from D's department store on credit.
- P carried the stove away and D immediately realized that P had made a misrepresentation and did not have the credit to buy the stove.
- D chased after P and caught up to him 2 miles away.
- P drew a knife on D, and D had to resort to force to recover the stove.
- P sued D for assault, battery, and trespass to chattel.
- Lower court found for P, D liable.
- Court reversed, D not liable.
- May a person use reasonable force to recover property fraudulently obtained from him?
- A person may use reasonable force to recover property fraudulently obtained from him.
- The stove did not really pass from D to P since P obtained possession through fraud and misrepresentation.
- Thus, D still retained ownership of the stove, and P's possession was unlawful.
- In recovering the stove, no violence to the P was necessary if P had not resisted. When P drew his knife, P became the aggressor, and D had the right to hold him by force.
- As long as the force was not unnecessary, D was justified.
- One can only recover a chattel immediately after it is unlawfully taken. (fresh pursuit).
- Reasonable force may be used (no serious bodily harm or deadly force).