ST. THOMAS UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF LAW

EXAMINATION NO.

PROPERTY I

SPRING 1993

PROFESSOR AMY RONNER

FINAL EXAMINATION

 

TIME LIMIT: 3 HOURS

 

IN TAKING THIS EXAMINATION, YOU ARE REQUIRED TO COMPLY WITH THE SCHOOL OF LAW RULES AND PROCEDURES FOR FINAL EXAMINATIONS. YOU ARE REMINDED THAT, AT THE CONCLUSION OF THE EXAMINATION, YOU SHOULD PLACE YOUR EXAMINATION NUMBER (YOUR ANONYMOUS GRADING NUMBER) ON EACH EXAMINATION BOOR. ALSO WRITE THE INSTRUCTOR'S NAME AND TITLE OF COURSE, ON EACH EXAMINATION BOOK, SECURE ALL BOORS AND YOUR EXAM WITH A PAPER CLIP, CHECR OFF YOUR EXAM NUMBER AND NOTE THE TIME IN THE "SIGN-OUT" BOOR PROVIDED IN THE DESIGNATED CLASSROOM, AND LEAVE YOUR EXAM IN THE DESIGNATED BOX.

 

INSTRUCTIONS

 

1. This is a CLOSED BOOK exam. No notes or books are permitted in the examination room.

 

2. Complete Problems, I, II and III.

 

 

PROBLEM I: BELLA COSE IN BOUNDARYSVILLE

Worth Sixty (60) Points

 

Introduction

 

Boundarysville is a coastal town in the State of Owner. It has a sparse population consisting of very wealthy residents, most of whom own large beachfront lots. One of the richest and most powerful residents of Boundarysville is Mortimer Sol.

 

Mortimer Sol

 

Mortimer Sol is an eccentric millionaire who has lived in Boundarysville for many years on a large lot. One of his problems is that he has what doctors have diagnosed as an allergy to chemicals -- especially those sprayed on vegetables and fruit. In fact, one summer when Mortimer Sol ate a raw turnip at the Boundarysville Beach Club, he broke out in huge welts over his entire body and his lungs became filled with fluid. If the club attendants had not called an ambulance immediately, he might have died.

Because of such allergic attacks, Sol constructed an enormous greenhouse on his property and hired staff to tend to it. Consequently, for several years, Mr. Sol has been growing his own vegetables organically and has become well known in Boundarysville for his magnificent chemical-free produce.

Not only does Mortimer Sol have allergic episodes, but he is also plagued with a nervous condition, which he calls "periodic panic attacks." The only thing that can calm his nerves are vultures. For this reason, Mortimer Sol has a vulture patch on his property: the vulture patch is a large abandoned field and every morning Mr. Sol's staff goes out and puts dead animal carcasses in this patch to attract vultures. Whenever Mr. Sol feels one of his panic attacks coming on, he simply sits on his rocking horse in his yard with binoculars and watches the vultures.

Bella Cose is Sol's new neighbor. After she purchased the lot adjacent to Sol's, she began building an enormous home. As soon as Sol saw this happening, he advised her that her house was positioned in such a way that it would block the sunlight to his greenhouse. Ms. Cose has always had a vendetta against Sol: for years she has read about him in the Owner Press and has always thought of him as a fanatic environmentalist, an impediment to progress and an enemy of the American economy. Because of her dislike for Sol and also because moving her partially constructed house would be expensive, she refused to comply with his demand and told Sol, "I hope you die of hives." When Sol heard that, he went to his lawyer and served Cose with a complaint to enjoin construction of her house and recover damages.

The lawsuit, of course, made Cose furious. When she saw Sol's complaint, Cose put on her hiking boots, got her rifle and marched over to the edge of her property. From this point, she could see Sol's vulture patch. Without ever stepping on Sol's property and without seeking to actually kill the vultures, Cose pulled the trigger and resounding blast caused the creatures to fly away. Sol had a panic attack and then served Cose with a second complaint to recover damages for interference with his vultures.

 

 

Mr.Adver Squat

 

Sol's closest pal is Adver Squat, who has resided on a parcel of land adjacent to Sol's for about thirty years. His lot is set off by a fence on one side and the sea on the other. For about ten years, he has paid taxes on the land and used it to harvest sea weed, which he sells to Hiyohizikisoshumahamachi, a local Japanese Restaurant. Adver Squat also hates trespassers and on one occasion has actually sued an individual that came onto his lot without permission. On several occasions, however, Mr. Squat has given Sol's friends permission to go onto his land to get some sea weed.

 

One day, Cose, who was examining her deed, discovered that she was actually the owner of Adver Squat's parcel of land. After some investigation, she also learned that the previous owner, Ms. Predecessor, had been insane for twenty years before she sold the lot to Cose. Cose, who also dislikes Squat because he is Sol's friend, commenced an action against Squat to evict him from her property.

 

Sol-Squat, Inc.

 

Sol and Squat are the sole shareholders in Sole-Squat, Inc. Sole-Squat, Inc. has acquired a lot, also adjoining Bella Cose's property, and has decided to create a residential development called "Utopic Hypocrisy." The development is designed for people who wish to eat organic vegetables and seaweed and live "close to nature."

 

In the process of creating this development, Sol and Squat put in catch-basins and sub-surface drains to deal with the run off of surface water from the residential development. This unfortunately had a devastating impact on Cose's property. While the water has always drained off onto the land that Cose now owns and still drains to the same place on her property, the flow had increased so substantially that large portions of Cose's property were flooded.

 

Consequently, Cose wishes to sue Sol-Squat, Inc. for damages to her land.

 

 

Owner State and the Interloper Sisters

 

One morning Bella Cose woke up and in an effort to escape all of her problems with Sol and Squat, decided to stroll along her beach property. As she was walking, she noticed two women walking between the mean high water line and the extreme low water line and they were carrying huge buckets. When Cose approached them and asked them who they were and what they were doing on her property, they informed her that they were known as the "Interloper Sisters, that they were good friends of Sol and Squat and that they were hunting for clams. The Interloper Sisters refused to get off of Cose's property and told her that there was a new law that allows them to walk on the beach.

 

Cose then went back to her partially constructed house, retrieved her rifle and brandished it menacingly at the Interloper Sisters. This made the Interloper Sisters dash off and in the course of flight, both Interloper Sisters dropped their buckets, tripped over them and twisted their ankles.

 

Out of pure curiosity, Cose went to the Boundarysville Library and found that the legislature had indeed passed a new Act which "authorized a public-on-foot right of passage on beaches for the sole purpose of clam hunting." Pursuant to the Act, the "right of passage was only to be exercised after sunrise and before one-half hour after sunset and was not to be exercised in "those areas designated by the Commissioner of the Department of Resources as of critical ecological significance and so posted." Further, the Act provided:

Any attempt to prevent the exercise of this right of passage is made punishable by fine, and the burden of proof in any action concerning the exclusion of the exercise of the right is to be on the party seeking to exclude or limit it. Interference with or making unsafe such passage is made unlawful, and a civil remedy is provided to any person affected by such action. Coastal owners shall not have tort liability to individuals exercising the clam-right-of-passage except for injuries caused by a violation of the Act.

Cose is worried about being sued by the Interloper Sisters and also wishes to challenge the validity of the "Clam-right-of passage" Act.

 

Exclusionville

 

Although Cose had her own "private" beach, she was also a member of the Boundarysville Beach Club because that enabled her to mingle and argue with other residents. The problems that Cose was having with Sol, Squat and the Interloper Sisters, however, began to infiltrate her recreational sanctuary. By way of example, one day Cose saw the Interloper Sisters sitting at the Boundarysville Beach Club clam bar and they threw shells at her and chortled. Another day, Adver Squat took her lounge chair and refused to give it back. On still another day, Mortimer Sol, who was eating raw broccoli, laughed at her and pointed maliciously at her cellulite.

 

Because the environment at the Boundarysville Beach Club had become intolerable, Cose decided to use the beach in Exclusionville, a neighboring coastal town. In Exclusionville, there is an Association, which is a non-profit organization and a quasi-public body, that has title to about ten beachfront parcels of land. The Association's certificate of incorporation provides that its object is to promote the best interests of Exclusionville and "in so doing, own and operate the beaches and hire life guards, beach cleaners and police persons."

 

Membership in the Exclusionville Beach Club is limited to residents of Exclusionville and all such members must wear big pink hats adorned with plastic turned-up noses. Without such a hat, one can not get through the gate. Only members may use the beach between 9:00 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. during the summer season. The general public, however, may use the Association's Beach from 2:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. during the summer season and at any time between labor day and April 1.

 

Cose's attempt to get into the Exclusionville Beach Club was unsuccessful. She could not get through the gate without the membership nose hat and could not purchase the membership nose hat without proving that she was a resident of Exclusionville. Consequently, Cose wishes to sue Exclusionville (the Association) for denying her access to the beach club.

 

 

Your Job

 

You are a lawyer in Boundarysville and Cose is your new client. You must prepare a memo advising her of her rights and defenses in her disputes and potential disputes with Mortimer Sol, Adver Squat, Sol-Squat, Inc., Owner State and the Interloper Sisters and Exclusionville.

 

You do some research and oddly enough discover all of the cases that are contained in Property and Law by Haar and Liebman, which was the very textbook you used in law school.

 

 

PROBLEM II: PRESENT AND FUTURE INTERESTS

 

 

Worth twenty (20) points

 

For each problem below, give the state of the title in England in 1700.

 

Be precise. You must state the full name of the interest. By way of example, "fee simple absolute" or "springing executory interest in fee simple absolute" or "shifting executory interest in fee simple absolute." Do not explain your answers. There will be no partial credit.

 

NOTE: BE SURE TO PUT YOUR ANS~ERS IN THE BLUE BOOK AND NUMBER THEM CORRECTLY.

 

l. O to Ronner for life, then to Bill and the heirs of his body. Ronner and Bill are living.

 

a. O has_______________________________________________

 

b. Ronner has___________________________________________

 

c. Bill has________________________________________

 

 

 

 

2. O to Ronner for life as long as Ronner remains 2 vegetarian, then to Carnivore and her heirs. Ronner and Carr.ivore are living and Ronner is a vegetarian.

 

a. O has ______________________________________________

 

b. Ronner has____________________________________________

 

c. Carnivore has_________________________________________

 

 

3. The same as problem 2 above, except that Ronner dies.

 

a. O has

 

b. Ronner has

 

c. Carnivore has

 

4. O to Amy for life, then to the first son of Bill who reaches 21 and his heirs, but if no son of Bill reaches 21, to Amy's heirs. Amy and Bill are alive. Cary, Bill's only son is 20 years old.

 

a. O has ___________________________________________

 

b. Amy has __________________________________________

 

c. The first son Bill who reaches the age 21 has.________________________________________

 

D. Cary has_____________________________________

 

The same as 4 above, except that 0 conveys her interest

 

 

a. 0 has

 

b Amy has

 

c. The first son of Bill who reaches the age of 21 has

___________________________________________

 

d. Cary has_________________________________________

 

6. 0 to Alice and her heirs as long as the land is used for a law school, and then to Barry and his heirs. Assume 0, Alice and Barry are living.

 

 

 

PROBLEM III: THE DEATH OF DR. MORBIDA DEFUNCT

 

 

Worth twenty (20) points

 

Dr. Morbida Defunct is a very successful neurosurgeon who has amassed a fortune. Her husband has never worked outside the home: that is, his forty years of marriage have been devoted to housekeeping and his wife and children.

 

Because Dr. and Mr. Defunct are getting on in years, Morbid2 has decided to sell her-vacation home in East Hampton to Bill Buyer. The written documents involved gave her or her husband or their heirs the right to repurchase the land upon the same terms and conditions as Bill Buyer might be willing to sell to a third person.

 

Dr. Defunct has a secretary in her office, Simon Servitude, who has served her faithfully for about fifteen years. On three occasions, Dr. Defunct purchased stock from Stock Co. and instructed them to issue the stock in her name as "trustee for Simon Servitude." Pursuant to the terms of the trust instruments, Servitude was to become the absolute owner of the trust property upon the death of Morbida Defunct. Dr. Defunct, however, retained to herself the right to receive during her lifetime all cash dividends and the right to change the beneficiary or revoke the trust at any time. Also, upon sale or redemption of the trust property, Dr. Defunct had the right to retain the proceeds therefrom for her own use.

 

The trust instruments provide in pertinent part as follows:

 

 

1. By assuming to act as trustee, said Dr. Morbida Defunct, shall not be deemed to have any fiduciary obligations to the beneficiary.

 

 

2. In the event, the settlor, Dr. Morbida Defunct, wishes to change the beneficiary or revoke the trust, she may do so without providing any notice to or obtaining the approval of Stock Inc.

 

Shortly after setting up her trusts and selling her vacation house, Dr. Morbida defunct died. Her will gave S1 to her husbar.c and the residue of her estate to Aunt Edie in Nebraska.

 

Aunt Edie has learned that Mr. Buyer has sold the East Hamptcn vacation home to Ms. Third Party and has sued Mr. Buyer and Ms. Third Party (Defunct vs. Buyer and Third Party) to exercise her right to repurchase the property upon the same terms as Ms. Third Party. Mr. Defunct has joined in that lawsuit as a plaintiff.

 

The administrator of the Estate has learned of the trus. instruments naming Simon Servitude as the beneficiary and has sued Servitude and the Stock Co.(Defunct vs. Servitude and Stock Co.) to recover the stock certificates. Mr. Defunct has intervened in tha. lawsuit to recover the stock certificates for himself.

 

 

Your Job

 

You are presently the law clerk to the Honorable Prudence Equity and motions for summary judgments have been filed in both cases, which are pending in your court. Judge Equity wants you to write her a memorandum in which you identify and analyze the issues and recommend how she should rule in both cases.

 

Judge Equity wants clear and organized explanations of your recommendations. She has also told you that she doesn't think that the lawyers in the cases did a good job explaining their theories and arguments and wants you to make sure that these are clearly set forth in your memo.