Business Law

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Finders Weepers, Losers Keepers
The News Journal, July 20, 2000.

In 1943, During World War II, a Navy TBD-1 Devastator crashed eight miles of the coast of Florida. The entire crew survived and there is no indication that any efforts were made to locate the plane by the Navy. Collector Doug Champlin, the owner of an airplane museum in Arizona, spent approximately $130,000.00 to recover the plane. The problem has to do with ownership. He claims to be the owner of the lost/abandoned plane. The Navy claims ownership and wants to put the plane in the National Museum of Naval Aviation at Pensacola, Naval Air Station. The TBD-1 Devastator has significant historical value as no Devastators survived the war.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that only Congress can order the abandonment of federal property. Hence the Navy owns the plane. Mr. Champlin doesn't mind giving the plane back to the Navy; he just wants to be reimbursed. The Navy is hesitant to pay and Mr. Champlin is considering an appeal to the Supreme Court.

6. Consider what this rule might mean to businesses, particularly those that contract with the government. Consider, for example, a store or outlet that purchases federal/military surplus. What provisions might they need to include in a contract that might not be required in a typical commercial or consumer contract?

I need to write 2 pages on this question and got stuck after one, was wondering if I could get a few suggestions.

This is what I have so far, what do you think?

Most would believe that such a powerful source like the Navy would have claimed the Navy TBD-1 Devastator as a deduction and would have replaced it. Yes, Mr. Champlin should have asked permission from the Navy before spending $130,000 on repairing it, the Navy might have said go ahead thinking it was unfixable or might of charged him a fee. Who knows, they might of even asked for it back, we do not know because Mr. Champlin never asked. After 60 years of I believe that Mr. Champlin should have possession over the plane, however the statue of limitations apparently does not apply to the government.
In this particular case the Navy owns the plane, however Mr. Champlin has possession of it. Therefore before purchasing any type of federal or military surplus business should beware. As this case may seem only Congress is able to say that something is not their property anymore, with that said then the businesses who are selling these items and the ones who are purchasing them are not really the real owners of the item.
In order to make the sale an item for the person or business who is purchasing the item they will have to have an agreement signed by Congress stating that the item does not belong to the government anymore and someone else may purchase it.

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