Court Holds Fish Don’t Go With Pond
Famous Molokai Fish Pond Case Passed on by Supreme Court—Decision Raises New Questions.
What’s fish pasture worth?
This is a question which Attorney Dan Case is trying to have answered, because on behalf of a client he will probably soon be putting in a bill against Attorney Eugene Murphy for a goodly sum for the care of Murphy’s finny property in a certain pond on Molokai. It is the famous fish pond case again.
The question has been brought up through a supreme court decision, rendered this week, in which the court apparently holds that when a man sells a fish pond he doesn’t necessarily sell the fish that may be in it. About six months ago a Japanese named Kanayama bought at sheriff’s sale the lease on the fish pond in question, only to be sued a little later for damages because he had taken fish from the pond. The suit was filed by Murphy, attorney for Akutogawa [Akutagawa], the Japanese who previously owned the lease, and who had given his attorney a bill of sale on the fish in the pond.
In the district magistrate’s court, judgement was rendered against Murphy, but on his appeal to the supreme court, this is reversed. The syllabus of the opinion of the higher court read:—”The judgement is reversed and the cause remanded to the district magistrate of Molokai with instructions to enter judgement in favor of the plaintiff for the sum of $75 and costs.”
The question is now what Murphy purposes doing to get his fish, which presumably are trespassing in the pond, and also what bill for pasture the owner of the pond can collect for caring for them all this time. And the end is not yet.
(Maui News, 7/24/1915, p. 6)