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Who Are De Positaries


WHO ARE DE POSITARIES. A finder of lost goods who voluntar ily assumes the care of them is liable as a depositary. (Story, Bail., Secs. 86-7.) He may defend his right to the goods against all save the owner. The finder should restore the goods to the owner when discovered, and is not generally entitled to compensation for finding and returning them. But where he is put to any expense in regard to the goods, he is to be recompensed for the outlay, though he has no general lien for such sation. He is to exercise good faith in so exposing the goods that they may be identified by the owner. Wheth tr, cr he has used good faith in allowing identification is a question of fact and not of law, hence it is for the jury to determine in dispute. A finder of lost goods has a lien for the reward offered on them. (Wood v. Pierson, 45 Mich. 313.) Goods are said to be lost when the owner has acci dentally and involuntarily parted with the possession of them, but where a pocketbook is thoughtlessly left or mislaid on a table in a store, it is held not to be lost in the eye of the law. (McAvoy v. Medina, z i Allen, 548.) But where a pocketbook was picked up off the floor it was held to have been lost. The question be comes material when two or more persons claim the article, as a stranger or clerk who picks up the lost ar ticle and the person who owns the store or place where the article is found. If the article is lost it belongs to the finder alone, unless the owner can be found. See Livermore v. White, 74 Me. 452. And this rule ap plies to servants or employes who find money or prop erty while at work for the master.

A bank by accepting a special deposit becomes liable as a depositary. By a special bank deposit is meant the placing of money, gold, or other like property with a bank upon the agreement that the identical thing de posited is to be returned. (Foster v. Essex Bank, 17 Mass. 479.) A mere placing of money in bank to be checked against creates the relation of debtor and creditor, and not that of bailor and bailee. The bank, by- accepting- a gratuitous special deposit, becomes lia ble onlv for gross negligence on the part of its officers or agents, and is only required to use the usual and or dinary care in dealing with such deposits as the line of its business demands. So it is held that the bank is not liable for the fraudulent or felonious acts of its agents as to such deposits. But if the bank, knowing of the incompetency of its agents, or having reasonable grounds to suspect their integrity, fails to remove them, this may be construed to be gross negligence. (Foster v. Essex Bank, supra; Scott v. Natl. Bank, 72 Pa. St. 471.) The bank is only obliged to exercise the same diligence which it exercises with respect to the cor porate funds, and is not required to put the deposit in the innermost department of its vaults, if they are kept in a reasonably safe place. (Griffith v. Zipperwick, 28 Ohio St. 388.) Corporations doing a general banking business have implied power to receive special deposits for safekeep ing, and so have National banks, organized under the United States banking- laws.

bank, lost, deposit, finder and special