South Dakota Law School 1L Study Guide for Property

I. Introduction to Property Law
Property law revolves around the rights and obligations that individuals and entities have over land, objects, and intellectual properties. It involves rules and policies regarding ownership and tenancy in real property (land), personal property (chattels), and intellectual property (trademarks, copyright, etc.).

Key Cases: Pierson v. Post (Hunting of a fox constitutes an act of possession)

II. Estates in Land
In South Dakota, estates in land are divided into freehold and leasehold estates. Freehold estates include the fee simple absolute, the life estate, and the fee tail.

Key Case: White v. Brown (Will interpretation, life estate, remainder)

III. Future Interests
Future interests are legal rights in property that will or may become possessory upon the occurrence of a specified event. They include the reversion, the possibility of reverter, and the right of entry.

Key Case: Estate of Mikkelsen (Rights of surviving spouse in intestate succession)

IV. Concurrent Ownership
South Dakota recognizes several forms of concurrent ownership, including tenancy in common, joint tenancy, and tenancy by the entirety.

Key Case: Olson v. Fraase (Joint tenancy, right of survivorship, severance)

V. Leaseholds
Leaseholds are a category of estates that give the holder the right to hold property for a limited period of time. They include the term of years, the periodic tenancy, and the tenancy at will.

Key Case: Fuller v. Scheidt (Commercial lease, duty to repair)

VI. Easements and Licenses
Easements are a legal right to use another’s land for a specific purpose. In South Dakota, easements can be created by express grant or reservation, implication, necessity, or by prescription.

Key Case: Staroba v. Boomsma (Easement by necessity)

VII. Real Covenants and Equitable Servitudes
In South Dakota, real covenants and equitable servitudes are promises concerning the use of land that can bind subsequent owners.

Key Case: In re Estate of Elliot (Covenants running with the land)

VIII. Adverse Possession
Adverse possession is a method of acquiring title to real property by possession for a statutory period under certain conditions.

Key Case: South Dakota v. Bollinger (Adverse possession, color of title)

IX. Land Use Controls
South Dakota has enacted land use regulations, including zoning laws and building codes, to control the use of land.

Key Case: Berens v. Board of County Commissioners (Zoning, variance)

X. Conveyancing
Conveyancing involves the legal process of transferring property from one owner to another. South Dakota uses the deed for this purpose.

Key Case: West v. Prairie State Bank (Fraudulent conveyance)

XI. Mortgages
A mortgage is a legal agreement by which a bank or other creditor lends money at interest in exchange for taking title of the debtor’s property.

Key Case: Parkison v. First American Bank & Trust (Foreclosure)

Remember to approach each case with the IRAC format: Issue, Rule, Application, and Conclusion. This will help you achieve a comprehensive understanding of the case. The issue is the legal question or problem at the heart of the case. The rule is the legal principle that governs the issue. The application is how the rule is applied to the specific facts of the case. The conclusion is the final decision or outcome of the case.

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