Saturday, December 17, 2005

Property Midterm

The Property midterm was on Thursday. It seemed fairly straightforward, although I was slightly thrown off by the lack of need to cite case names. Then again, Property has always been a fairly straightforward class, although sometimes, Professor Petherbridge's interpretation of the Socratic method leaves students a little confused. Still, his answers to e-mail questions helped straighten us out as to what rules he expects us to apply.

There were 15 multiple choice questions, and an essay. The multiple choice section actually took me close to 50 minutes to do. I would have finished sooner, but I ended up spending a good 10 minutes erasing my scantron. (The way I take multiple choice tests, I would circle the correct answer on the exam itself, and fill it out later. When I came up across a question I should skip, I absent-mindedly failed to skip it on the scantron. Grr.)

The most memorable question involved a triangle of privity. The question was very humorously worded, but the principle was pretty straightforward. The fact patter was as follows (minus the humor):

Superman leases out the Hall of Justice to Batman for 5 years. Batman meets Robin, and a year into the lease, the Dynamic Duo move out together to Gotham city. Batman contracts with Wonder Woman, who assumes all the covenants of the master lease. A year later, Wonder Woman assigns the remainder of the lease to Aquaman. A year after that, Aquaman assigns to Wolverine for one year. Wolverine fails to pay rent. Whom can Superman collect from?

The answer was Wonder Woman (privity of contract) and Aquaman (privity of estate). There is no privity of estate between Superman and Wolverine because, although Aquaman "assigns to Wolverine" for one year, there is another year left, so what Wolverine has is a sublease, and not an assignment, and there is no privity of estate between the landlord and a sublessee.

The essay was also fairly straightforward, and stuffed full of issues. It's too long to repeat here, but suffice it to say that everybody seemed to have addressed the same issues. One thing that I noticed I missed, after talking with classmates during the Criminal Law review session yesterday, was the rule against perpetuities (RAP) in the essay. The original landowner devised the following on her death:

To Henry husband to my wife Wilhelmina [for life], but there is agriculture, or if the prairie dogs on the land are harmed, then to my son Udo and his heirs.

I don't remember if the words "for life" were there (Shirley doesn't remember seeing those words), but I think they were, because I called Henry's interest a life estate, which would only work if the words "for life" were there. In either case, Udo has a shifting executory interest. That alone should have triggered thoughts of RAP in my mind. I missed that.

All in all, I'm glad I had enough time to type the essay. I could have squeezed out more issues if there had been more time, but at least I wasn't caught in the middle of a sentence when time was called. In fact, I had just typed the last period only a second before time was called. Talk about close!

It's time now to cram for Criminal Law and Torts. Fighting procrastination is hard, though, especially since my outlines for both classes are mostly done.

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