Wisniewski v. Historical Ass'n of Southern Florida, Inc., 81-497

Decision Date12 January 1982
Docket NumberNo. 81-497,81-497
Citation408 So.2d 746
PartiesLeonard WISNIEWSKI, Appellant, v. HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHERN FLORIDA, INC. and the Republic of Haiti, Appellees.
CourtFlorida District Court of Appeals

Lee, Schulte, Murphy & Coe and Jack M. Coe, Jupiter, for appellant.

Blackwell, Walker, Gray, Powers, Flick & Hoehl, Todd A. Cowart and Diane H. Tutt, Miami, for appellees.



At stake in this litigation are the respective rights of Leonard Wisniewski, the plaintiff, and the Republic of Haiti, an intervening defendant, to the possession of two antique cannons located on the premises of the Historical Association of Southern Florida, Inc. Wisniewski's claim derives from his being the purchaser from, and assignee of, Marine Exploration Company, which loaned the cannons to the Historical Association, as bailee, to exhibit them with the understanding that the cannons would be returned to Marine upon demand. Marine, and later Wisniewski, indisputably standing in Marine's shoes, made this demand, and upon being refused possession, Wisniewski brought a replevin action. Haiti's claim, if claim it can be called, derives from (a) the gratuitous mention of the Haitian Government in Marine's loan letter to the Historical Museum 1; (b) an "official newspaper" of questionable admissibility 2 reporting a purported, unsigned contract between Haiti and Marine Exploration which, at most, required Marine, in exchange for exploration rights in Haitian territorial waters, to divide "the sale product of such wrecks" in the proportions of seventy-five per cent for Marine and twenty-five per cent for the Haitian Government, but did not give Haiti an interest in the artifacts themselves; (c) a letter to Jean Duvalier from the Historical Museum and plaques on the Museum wall thanking the Haitian Government for "making it possible" for the Museum to exhibit the cannons, which letter and plaques, acknowledgments of the gratuitous mention of Haiti in the loan agreement, prove even less about Haiti's interest in the cannons than the loan agreement. Even assuming, arguendo, that the "contract" between Haiti and Marine Exploration could be regarded as giving Haiti some ownership interest in the cannons, that interest was clearly separated from the right of possession which, by all that is shown by this record, was exclusively a right of Marine...

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1 cases
  • Metropolitan Dade County v. One (1) Bronze Cannon
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Southern District of Florida
    • April 23, 1982
    ...action." Parramore v. Smith, 158 Fla. 85, 27 So.2d 670 (1946). Emphasis Added. Wisniewski v. Historical Association of Southern Florida, Inc. and The Republic of Haiti, 408 So.2d 746, 747-48 (Fla. 3d DCA 1982). In light of the above, Wisniewski's assertion that the saving to suitors clause ......
1 books & journal articles
  • Obtaining a replevin writ prior to final judgment: with or without notice.
    • United States
    • Florida Bar Journal Vol. 76 No. 11, December 2002
    • December 1, 2002
    ...the right of possession under subsection (4) of the statute, the court in Wisniewski v. Historical Association of Southern Florida, Inc., 408 So. 2d 746 (Fla. 3d DCA 1982), held that the proper inquiry before the court is whether the party instituting a replevin action has a right to immedi......

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