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Meteorite: Smithsonian or eBay?

When doctors' offices were hit by a meteorite on Jan. 18, they decided to give it to the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History. But now the landlords say the space rock is theirs. Read the full article.


By Jodi Westrick  |  January 28, 2010; 3:55 PM ET  | Category:  Local Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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If the landlord really wanted the meteorite he should have made the roof stronger. Then it'd just rolled out into the parking lot where he could have readily retrieved it.

Unfortunately, the landlord provided a cheesy roof easily penetrated by any falling rock, or airplane part.

As it is, we now know the landlord did not meet the commercial expectations of the dentist who was nearly hit by a falling rock.

The countersuit on this could give the dentist possession of the entire building ~ and if the landlord knows what's good for him, he'll figure out how to let bygones be bygones.

After all everyone knows that every dentist's ambition is to own his own office building.

Posted by: muawiyah | January 28, 2010 11:02 PM

The landlord only owns fixed improvements that are attached to the premises, not things like desks and chairs. Unless something is specifically listed as provided in the lease, if it is moveable, the landlord has no claim. What a schmuck!

Posted by: dotellen | January 28, 2010 11:56 PM

Muawiyah's knows little about the law, sorry. As far as I can see, the dentist has no damages to complain about. Presumably he did not pay for the roof to be fixed? Not much of a lawsuit there. Dentist has no damages, dentist has no recovery, sorry.

And as for the rock, he'd be well advised to turn it over. Landlords give leases. Leases end, and people hope to get them renewed. As a Virginia attorney I am unaware of any statute or case law that would protect Dr. Teeth if his landlord wants to kick him out at the end of the lease because he wouldn't fork over in this dispute. Wonder how much it will cost to move!

Posted by: Nemo24601 | January 28, 2010 11:57 PM

You may be an attorney, Nemo, but I don't think you're a very good one. If a stranger walked into the dentists' office and dropped a stack of $1,000 bills on the floor, then walked out and disappeared, would the cash belong to the landlord or the tenant? I say the tenant is in possession of the premises so unowned items found on the premises belongs to the tenant.

Posted by: pundito | January 29, 2010 2:11 AM

If they want it, the Smithsonian should BUY it from the guy.

Posted by: WilyArmadilla | January 29, 2010 7:31 AM

I am an important liberal, and the Democratic Committee should decide who gets the rock.

Posted by: jnrentz@aol.com | January 29, 2010 8:27 AM

Selling it on e-Bay is pretty crass.

I think they should donate it to the Science Museum in Richmond.

Posted by: bmschumacher | January 29, 2010 8:30 AM

Pundito: Different situation. Abandoned property by man goes to finders/keepers rules (by the way, you do know they haven't printed $1,000 bills since 1969, right?) Act of God goes to landowner. Next thing you know, you'll be saying that if they had dug a hole in the ground and struck oil, that it isn't the landowner's (or whoever owns the mineral rights).

Posted by: Nemo24601 | January 29, 2010 11:16 AM

I've seen enough on this issue! 1/2 to the Smithsonian and 1/2 to eBay! - King Solomon

Posted by: BibleLives | January 29, 2010 12:09 PM

The doctors did the right thing. The landlord should let it go and feel some satisfaction for being part of a good thing. Donating the meteorite to the Smithsonian, and donating the $5,000 to Haiti relief is a DOUBLE ACT OF KINDNESS that benefits the greatest number of people. (BTW, I don't think it was a dental office, but physicians).

Posted by: nconnelly | January 29, 2010 8:59 PM

That Smithsonian spokesman guy comes across as sensitive and articulate. I like that. :)

Posted by: KarenGray | January 30, 2010 1:16 PM

Good old Washington Post, someone wants the right to their property and you presume it's going to ebay. The landlord said he wanted it to go to OTHER institutes NOT EBAY. The Smithsonian has 17,000 meteorites in their vault. How long do you think this one would be on display? If it were my rock, I would want to be able to choose where it went. And if you care to know about the law regarding meteorites falling in the US, see this link:

http://articles.adsabs.harvard.edu//full/2002M%26PSB..37....5S/0000005.000.html

Posted by: saram2 | January 30, 2010 4:00 PM

Yes, the meteor belongs to the owners of the land/building it fell on, but I would hope these gentlemen do the right thing and donate it to the Smithsonian.

Posted by: Isbeth | February 1, 2010 11:08 AM

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