Professor Henry H. Perritt, Jr.

Property (Three Hours)

Exam No. _____

Spring 2005

            Time: 0830-1130, 19 May 2005


Chicago-Kent College of Law

Final Examination in property



1.         This examination consists of 4 pages.  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.

4.                  While 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.

6.                  It 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.

7.                  Organization 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 information.

8.                  Do not write outside the margins of your bluebook pages, but write clearly.  If it’s not legible, it will not get credit.

9.                  Write your examination number on your bluebook(s) and on each page of this examination.  Do not use your name.

10.              When you have finished the examination place it inside your bluebook(s) and deposit them in the appropriate box in the examination room.


Any material including any outlines whether commercially prepared or not, whether accessible by computer or not.  No communication by e-mail, cell phone, voice-over-IP, or any form of instant- or text-messaging is permitted during the exam.



Spring, 2005

Final Examination


I.          Grandmother conveys, by deed, a recreational complex known as “Ski Lift” to two of her children, Sister and Brother, “for their lives and afterwards to her my favorite grandchildren, Grandson and Granddaughter.” Sister and Brother have no enthusiasm for Ski Lift and they send an email to Granddaughter and Grandson, saying that “you both can have our interests, whatever they’re worth.” Later, Grandson, who is not interested in the ski business, conveys his interest to “my sister, ‘Granddaughter,’ and her husband with right of survivorship.”  This transaction between the grandchildren occurs while Grandmother is still living. 


A developer, “Developer,” decides that the revenue of both Ski Lift and his own project will be enhanced if he builds an airport for high-income skiers to fly their private airplanes into the vicinity of Ski Lift.  He negotiates with Granddaughter before Grandson conveys his interest to Granddaughter and her husband. Granddaughter grants an easement over a portion of Ski Lift to Developer.  The easement provides that no structures or other hazards to flight will be erected more than 100 feet above the ground over a pathway of some 1000 ft. running from south to north. 


The county in which Ski Lift is located is annoyed at the increased traffic that disrupts traditional local lifestyles such as watching television, drinking beer at the local tavern, and participating in drag races.  The county council passes an ordinance prohibiting any sports facility, which is defined so as to include ski resorts, from having more than 500 customers per year. 


The resulting commotion is a blow to Grandmother’s health, and she dies.  Sister and Brother are still alive


Developer develops his runway systems so that the final approach path for the main runway lies over the easement.  Unfortunately, a corporate jet making an approach to the airport misjudges its altitude and clips the top off of a 90-foot stanchion holding the ski lift cables.  Granddaughter was on the ski lift at the time and she was killed. 


Granddaughter has one son, “GDS” who is 22 years old, the product of Granddaughter’s marriage with her husband.  Granddaughter’s will bequeathed “all my worldly possessions, real, personal, and intangible, to my beloved son, GDS, to have and to hold in fee simple absolute.” Granddaughter and her husband have divorced, and GDS does not get along with his father.  GDS’s father has decided to improve Ski Lift by erecting a new high-rise conference center that will exceed the 100-foot height limitation under the flight path. Construction has begun. GDS is so upset about the accident that killed Granddaughter that he has published an advertisement in the local paper threatening to shoot down any aircraft flying over Ski Lift.


A.                 (45 minutes) GDS has asked you to represent him. What interest(s) does your client, GDS, have in Ski Lift?  Explain your reasoning, and explicitly consider the interests owned by others.


B.                 (20 minutes) What remedies does Developer have against GDS? Against GDS’s father? Do not consider tort claims for personal injury, death, or property damage directly growing out of the aircraft incident.


C.                 (20 minutes) Assuming GDS has some kind of interest in Ski Lift, he wants to attack the county ordinance.  What is his best legal theory for attacking it?  Evaluate the prospects for success.


D.                 (20 minutes) Granddaughter had rented a part of the ski lodge at Ski Lift to Tenant for one year. After the aircraft accident, Tenant moved out and refused to pay the balance of the rent. What result when GDS sues for the rent, and why?



II.         (30 Minutes) Alexander has developed a foolproof formula that permits law students and practicing lawyers to understand and apply the Rule Against Perpetuities. He has vague notions of turning his idea into a set of Web-based applications, but has not taken any steps toward doing so. He thinks he could make a million dollars if he ever gets around to commercializing his idea. He is afraid to tell anyone about his idea for fear that they will appropriate it, leaving him without anything of value. Barbara is a third-year law student who plans to practice real property law. The firm that has hired her specializes in Rule Against Perpetuities problems. Barbara also has a background in software and is an expert Web programmer. She believes that a Rule Against Perpetuities tool such as that which A has developed would be worth $2 million, and she has available to her the capital to develop, commercialize, and market it. She is worried, however, that if she access to Alexander’s idea and invests in commercializing them, he will compete with her or sell the ideas to someone else.


What does the Coase paradigm say will happen? Is there any reason this will not happen in the real world? Is law helpful or necessary to arrive at a good outcome? If it is, what role should law play?


III.       (45 minutes) You own property, “Nationbuilding Acre,” which you are tired of owning and want to donate during your lifetime to assist in building democracy and market economies in countries in transition, such as Kosovo. Your adviser has suggested that you convey it according to the following instrument:


“I convey ownership of NationbuildingAcre and all of the facilities erected on it (“the property”) (worth $2 million), in fee simple to the fund manager, to have and to hold all such property for purposes of making sound and secure investments in countries in transition, such as Kosovo, and paying to me such “dividends” as the fund manager things prudent, but only (a) for so long as the investment manager is not convicted by any court in the United States for any economic crime, in which case the property or such of it as remains will be returned to me, and (b)  for so long as at least 50 percent of the investment projects undertaken produce a rate of return of 20 percent or better; if they do not produce such a rate of return, then any remaining property I have conveyed shall be transferred in fee simple to a charitable trust, FailureTrust, in Chicago, Illinois.  The fund manager will contribute any remaining property in the fund to a charity of his or her choosing no later than December 31, 2175, at which time the fund shall be terminated.


Are all the interests mentioned legally valid?  Can all of the instrument’s provisions be enforced?  If any interests or provisions are invalid, how does that affect the valid interests?  Be sure to provide a complete analysis, considering each interest, and giving your reasons in appropriate detail.