Monday, May 11, 2009

Responsibility for found items


One who announces that he has found property becomes an official guardian of the item. He must protect it from harm, and do what is needed to maintain its state.

If this guardian is careless, and that carelessness results in depreciation or destruction of that item, then he is responsible to reimburse the owner at such time as the owner comes forward to claim it.

If the item is one which is easily replaced, the finder may 'purchase it' and use it for himself, paying its value to the owner when he claims it. (Some rule that this is only true if the item is one regarding which the owner wouldn't care whether he has that specific item, or any other item like it.)

(Code of Jewish Law Choshen Mishpat 267:15-17, 21; Meirat Einayim 267:30)

Have a great day,

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