ABANDONMENT, lights. The relinquishment of a right; the giving up of something to which we are entitled.
2. – Legal rights, when once vested, must be divested according to law, but equitable rights may be abandoned. 2 Wash. R. 106. See 1 H. & M. 429; a mill site, once occupied, may be abandoned. 17 Mass. 297; an application for land, which is an inception of title, 5 S. & R. 215; 2 S. & R. 378; 1 Yeates, 193, 289; 2 Yeates, 81, 88, 318; an improvement, 1 Yeates, 515 ; 2 Yeates, 476; 5 Binn. 73; 3 S. & R. 319; Jones' Syllabus of Land Office Titles in Pennsylvania, chap. xx; and a trust fund, 3 Yerg. 258 may be abandoned.
3. – The abandonment must be made by the owner without being pressed by any duty, necessity or utility to himself, but simply because he wishes no longer to possess the thing; and further it must be made without any desire that any other person shall acquire the same; for if it were made for a consideration, it would be a sale or barter, and if without consideration, but with an intention that some other person should become the possessor, it would be a gift: and it would still be a gift though the owner might be indifferent as to whom the right should be transferred; for example, he threw money among a crowd with intent that some one should acquire the title to it.
ABANDONMENT. In maritime contracts in the civil law, principals are generally held indefinitely responsible for the obligations which their agents have contracted relative to the concern of their commission but with regard to ship owners there is remarkable peculiarity; they are bound by the contract of the master only to the amount of their interest in the ship, and can be discharged from their responsibility by abandoning the ship and freight. Poth. Chartes part. s. 2, art. 3, 51; Ord. de la Mar. des proprietaires, art. 2; Code de Com. 1. 2, t. 2, art. 216.
ABANDONMENT for torts, a term used in the civil law. By the Roman law, when the master was sued for the tort of his slave, or the owner for a trespass committed by his animal, he might abandon them to the person injured, and thereby save himself from further responsibility.
2. – Similar provisions have been adopted in Louisiana. It is enacted by the civil code that the master shall be answerable for all the damages occasioned by an offence or quasi offence committed by his slave. He may, however, discharge himself from such responsibility by abandoning the slave to the person injured; in which case such person shall sell such slave at public auction in the usual form; to obtain payment of the damages and costs; and the balance, if any, shall be returned to the master of the slave, who shall be completely discharged, although the price of the slave should not be sufficient to pay the whole amount of the damages and costs; provided that the master shall make abandonment within three days after the judgment awarding such damages, shall have been rendered; provided also that it shall not be proved that the crime or offence was committed by his order, for in such cases the master shall be answerable for all damages resulting therefrom, whatever be the amount, without being admitted to the benefit of abandonment. Art. 180, 181.
3. – The owner of an animal is answerable for the damages he has caused; but if the animal had been lost, or had strayed more than a day, he may discharge himself from this responsibility, by abandoning him to the person who has sustained the injury, except where the master has turned loose a dangerous or noxious animal, for then he must pay for all the harm he has done, without being allowed, to make the abandonment. Ib. art. 2301.
ABANDONMENT, contracts. In insurances the act by which the insured relinquishes to the assurer all the property to the thing insured.
2. – No particular form is required for an abandonment, nor need it be in writing; but it must be explicit and absolute, and must set forth the reasons upon which it is founded.
3. – It must also be made in reasonable time after the loss.
4. – It is not in every case of loss that the insured can abandon. In the following cases an abandonment may be made: when there is a total loss; when the voyage is lost or not worth pursuing, by reason of a peril insured against or if the cargo be so damaged as to be of little or no value; or where the salvage is very high, and further expense be necessary, and the insurer will not engage to bear it or if what is saved is of less value than the freight; or where the damage exceeds one half of the value of the goods insured or where the property is captured, or even detained by an indefinite embargo ; and in cases of a like nature.
5. – The abandonment, when legally made transfers from the insured to the insurer the property in the thing insured, and obliges him to pay to the insured what he promised him by the contract of insurance. 3 Kent, Com. 265; 2 Marsh. Ins. 559 Pard. Dr. Coin. n. 836 et seq. Boulay Paty, Dr. Com. Maritime, tit. 11, tom. 4, p. 215.
ABANDONMENT, contracts. In the French law, the act by which a debtor surrenders his property for the benefit of his creditors. Merl. Rep. mot Abandonment.
ABANDONMENT, malicious. The act of a hushand or wife, who leaves his or her consort wilfully, and with an intention of causing perpetual separation.
2. – Such abandonment, when it has continued the length of time required by the local statutes, is sufficient cause for a divorce. Vide 1 Hoff. R. 47; Divorce.