Chicago-Kent College of Law
Final Examination in property
1. This examination consists of 5 pages, including this one.
Please check to make certain you have the complete examination.
2. Read these instructions carefully and read
each question carefully. Think each problem through before you write and treat every
appropriate issue in each question. Be direct and concise.
3. Answers will be graded upon the reasons given
as well as the conclusions drawn. If more than one reason is pertinent to an answer, state every reason.
you have been permitted to bring materials into the examination room, answering
the questions appropriately will put time pressure on you. You should not
do extensive research during the examination. Credit will be weighted
according to the time allocations shown. Manage your time accordingly.
5. You may decide, in answering one or more questions, that a
complete answer would require legal research. If this is so, you should
identify the specific issue that you would research. If you have a
mastery of the basic concepts, you will be able to frame research issues very
narrowly and precisely.
also may be that more factual information is required to answer a
question. If this is the case, you should say what factual information is
required and why you need it. A mastery of the underlying concepts will
permit you to frame any factual inquiries very narrowly and link them precisely
to the legal issue involved.
and clarity are very important. A shorter answer that is well organized
and evidences a clear understanding of basic concepts and their
interrelationships is better than a long answer with disconnected fragments of
not write outside the margins of your bluebook pages, but write clearly.
If it’s not legible, it will not get credit.
your examination number on your bluebook(s) or computer answer and on each page
of this examination. Do not use your name.
you have finished the examination place it inside your bluebook(s) and deposit
them in the appropriate box in the examination room, or submit a computer exam
MATERIALS WHICH MAY BE TAKEN INTO THE EXAMINATION ROOM
Any material including any outlines whether commercially prepared or not,
whether accessible by computer or not, locally or via Internet
connection. No communication by e-mail, cell phone, voice-over-IP, or any
form of instant- or text-messaging is permitted during the exam.
Final Examination in Property
Spring Semester, 2006
A group of four musicians known as
Grab-bag of Marbles (GBM), owns a small shack converted into a recording studio
on a small piece of real property known as Musicsliver as tenants in common.
GBM is not incorporated and thus is not a distinct legal entity.
The members of GBM buy an easement
from A. Coustic Listener, the owner of an adjacent and much larger parcel of
land, Concertacres, entitling “the owners of Musicsliver, presently GBM, and
their heirs and assigns forever to perform one concert per year in June, on the
back lawn of Concertacres, from dusk to dawn, celebrating a genre of music
known as ‘garbage-can-lid.’” All the members of GBM record the easement in the
Recorder of Deeds office at the county seat.
Listener decides to subdivide and sell
off Concertacres and move to Saskatchewan.
Because the back lawn is so desirable, she defines the lots in the shape of
pizza slices, with the apex (like the points in the center of the pizza) in the
middle of the back lawn, running at their widest dimension to the edges of
Concertacres. She sells the first lot to Sebby Bach, and includes in the deed a
“covenant,” promising Bach and his heirs and assigns forever, “an annual
garbage-can-lid concert, performed by the owners of Musicsliver” The deeds for
all subsequent lot sales except the last contain a similar proviso. She sells
the last lot to Jay Lennon. The grantees record all the deeds immediately after
they receive them. Lennon then moves to Honduras and conveys his lot in fee
simple to Chris Martin. That deed also is recorded.
- (25 minutes) Martin prefers a type of music that is
“sweeter” than the garbage-can-lid genre and is astounded the first June
he lives on his sliver of Concertacres when he looks out his back window at
dusk and sees the members of GBM setting up their odd-looking drumsets
with garbage cans and plastic paint buckets, amplifiers and huge speakers
on a portion of Martin’s back yard. His dismay increases when GBM starts
to play and continues through the night. By about four a.m. Martin is
furious. Barefooted, with flashlight in hand, he stalks out his back door
and confronts the leader of GBM who says his name is “Agustin.” Martin
demands that GBM leave his property immediately. Agustin refuses. Litigation
ensues, with Martin and Agustin each suing the other for trespass and
breach of the covenant of quiet enjoyment. Who is likely to win and why?
Be sure to discuss both the trespass and quiet-enjoyment theories.
- (20 minutes) GBM breaks up, some members becoming
lawyers, some becoming rock stars, and others becoming homeless persons.
Agustin executes a quit-claim deed “to any and all interests he may have
in Musicsliver” to Joanne Bramms, a proficient violinist. Bramms has
become interested in imitating bird songs on her violin. Bramms decides to
perform a lengthy bird-song violin solo on the next June 14th
at noon. While Martin likes the violin better than the garbage-can-lid
music, he does not much care for the bird calls and anyway is at his wits
end about other people playing music on his property. More litigation
ensues on the same two legal theories between Martin and Bramms, each
suing the other on both theories. What result this time? You should assume
that the litigation described in subquestion A has not been resolved, but
you need not repeat your analysis from subquestion A in your answer to
this subquestion; instead you may refer to specific parts of it if you do
- (20 minutes) Martin has now successfully discouraged
any music performers from coming within five miles of his property to play
music. One of his neighbors Sebby Bach, the first purchaser from Listener,
now sues Martin, Bramms and the original members of GBM seeking to compel
them to resume the garbage-can-lid concert. What legal theories would be
best for Bach and what are her prospects for success?
- (20 minutes) All of the litigation is dropped without
judgments or settlements. Bramms stops playing and moves away. The current
and successor owners of Musicslivier and the parcels comprising the former
Concertacres had grown accustomed to having a barbecue on the property
formerly used by GBM and Bramms for their concerts. The barbecue continues
for 25 years, in the course of which the barbecuers construct a large
permanent barbecue pit on the Martin property. Martin now has sold his
property in fee simple to a musical group known as “Wontco” which wants to
build an enclosed concert arena on the property formerly owned by Martin.
They build a wall, making the elaborate barbecue pit inaccessible. The
barbecuers break a hole in the wall and fire up the barbecue pit, just as
Wontco is beginning its first concert in the arena. The audience for the
concert forgets about Wontco’s music and flocks over to eat barbecue. The
barbecuers and Wontco sue each other for trespass. Who wins and why?
Matilda Boxer got an “A” in her
first year property class in law school. She was particularly proud of her
mastery of the Rule Against Perpetuities. After her post-graduation and post-bar-admission
job search did not produce the life-style or income prospects she had hoped
for, she decided to open a private school to tutor first-year law students on
the Rule Against Perpetuities. She purchased, in fee simple absolute, a
three-storey building half a block from a modern urban law school (“MULS”) in Baltimore, Maryland.
Her initial three years of operation were phenomenally successful, gratifying
all of her professional aspirations. Law students from the nearby law school
flocked to her classes, in which they were allowed to drink beer, eat pizza,
wear hats, listen to music, exchange instant-messages and watch video games and
professional sports during class. Whether or not they learned much about the
Rule Against Perpetuities, they had a ball and word spread fast. Soon there was
a waiting list for Boxer’s classes, comprising law students from all over the
country, some taking a leave of absence from their regular courses to attend
The deans of the law schools most
affected by Boxer’s program got together and petitioned the City Council and
Mayor of Baltimore
to shut down Boxer’s operation.
- (20 minutes) The City Council passes an ordinance,
amending the Baltimore
zoning ordinance, to “prohibit any school from limiting its program of
instruction to old, complicated common-law rules and from allowing alcohol
to be served to students.” The preamble to the ordinance recites that “It
is well known that too many law students are distracted by trying to
master the Rule Against Perpetuities, which no one really understands. The
combination of beer, pizza, and the Rule undermines the soundness of the
future legal profession in Maryland.”
As knowledge of the new ordinance spreads, Boxer’s enrollments plummet.
Assume you are retained to represent Boxer. What arguments can you make to
invalidate the ordinance. Where would you make them? Evaluate your
prospects for success.
- (10 minutes) The dean of MULS retains you to file a
common-law nuisance action against Boxer in Baltimore City Circuit Court.
Assuming that Maryland
applies the common law of nuisance, what arguments would you make, what
evidence would you offer in support of your arguments, what remedies would
you seek, and what are your prospects for success?
- (20 minutes) Uncertain of its prospects for success
with the zoning or nuisance approaches, MULS presents a comprehensive plan
to the City of Baltimore
for an expansion of its facilities, including a law-student residence to
be erected on the site now occupied by Boxer’s school. The plans include a
“study bar” where students living in the residence would be served
alcohol. The Baltimore authorities exercise their power of eminent domain
to condemn Boxer’s property so that the law school’s expansion plan can be
carried out, containing the same recitation in its condemnation decision
as that quoted in subquestion A. If you represent Boxer, what arguments
would you make to thwart the exercise of eminent domain? Evaluate your
prospects for success. Do not consider valuation issues in your answer.
- (15 minutes) Instead of buying the facility for her
operation, Boxer enters into a five-year lease with the MULS’s parent
university, which owns the property. The lease contains a proviso
prohibiting the lessee from using the premises for consumption of illegal
substances or illegal consumption of lawful substances and terminating the
lease if the proviso is violated. One year into Boxer’s operation, the
dean of MULS and a dozen of her largest and most aggressive students,
acting with the approval of the president of the parent university,
conduct a “raid” on Boxer’s operations, entering several of her classes
and removing all beer and pizza. Boxer wants to sue the university and
asks you to represent her. What legal claims would you assert, with what prospects
for success? Do not address criminal law.
- (30 minutes) Suppose Boxer has not yet started her
school and neither owns nor leases any property in the area yet. An alumna
of MULS who graduated next to last in her class long has borne a grudge
against MULS. She is delighted at the prospect of a competing law school.
She talks to Boxer about her plans, and conveys property she owns
half-a-block from MULS, “in fee simple for so long as the property is used
for a bona-fide law school, then to the graduate of the most recent class
of MULS who ranked at the bottom of the class.” Who has what interests?
Boxer now has begun operating her Rule Against Perpetuities school, with
the same program and activities as described above in the general part of
this question. What arguments, if any, can be made by anyone other than
Boxer to get the property sooner rather than later? Consider all plausible
issues and assess the prospects for success.