Prop2: Final Exam Comments

Hi everyone! I have submitted grades for both sections. I am very proud of all of you. This was my first semester teaching Property, and I did not know what to expect with the exams. On the whole, you nailed it. I put together really difficult fact patterns that were quite open-ended, with the intent that there would be many, many, many correct answers. I thought I had considered all the possible answers, but several of you came up with things I didn’t even think of. Well done.
Additionally, many of you incorporated various concepts we talked about in class that were not in the textbook (such as the Coase Theorem, various constitutional concepts, etc.). This made me beam with pride.
Finally, despite all of your concerns, almost every single one of you managed to completely answer the question within the word limit. In other words, the differences between the A, B, and C was not due to an inability to write within the word limits. You also got very creative with abbreviations (APed was my favorite–adversely possessed) and really-long-hyphenates-to-avoid-adding-another-word.
The Exams
Section B
You can download the exam for Section B here: Property II Fall 2012 Section B Exam
I provide for your consideration the A+ exam here: SectionB-BestPaper
Section D
For this exam, I must confess error. In paragraph 5, I wrote:
Back in 1990, Carl and Domer, who were at the time the owners of Dryacre and Wetacre, respectively, reached a set of covenants.
It was clear that Carl owned Dryacre and Domer owned Wetacre.
Later in paragraph 7, I wrote
 Second, Aggie discovered that when Domer acquired Dryacre from Edna in 1985, Edna inserted a covenant into the deed so that the land could only be used for “agricultural purposes.”
This was an error. It should have been “when Carl acquired Dryacre.”
To make up for that mistake, I gave everyone equal credit for that issue. It was one of many issues, and barely made a dent in the scoring.
Here is the corrected exam:  PropertyIIExam-Blackman-SectionD-Correct
I also provide for your consideration the A+ paper: SectionD-BestPaper

The Grades
First year classes, including Property II, are subject to the school’s mandatory grading curve (see p. 84 of the handbook):
grades assigned in classes of 40 or more students shall conform to a mandatory grading distribution. That distribution provides for a required 9-16 percent for A+/A, a required 16-30 percent for A+/A/A-; a required 16-30 percent for C+/C/C-/D+/D/F; and a required 9-16 percent for C/C-/D+/D/F. The class average shall be 2.85-3.15.
I think you will find that in each section, the scores approached the upper limits of the grades allowed above an A-, and approached the lower limits of grades below C+. In addition, the class average was very close to the upper limit (3.15). In other words, there were more As than Cs, and the class averages were quite high.
Here are the full breakdowns for each section.
Section B

Average: 3.121
A and above -13.0%
A- and above – 26.1%
C+ and below: 17.4%
C and below: 10.1%

 
Section D

Average: 3.143
A and above – 14.3%
A- and above – 28.6%
C+ and below: 19.0%
C and below: 11.9%

Thank you all for a great semester! BTW, if you wrote either of the A+ papers, please email me, if you’d like. Thanks!
 
 
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Prop2 Class 27 – Last Class! Review Session

Thank you all for a great semester. Today we will go over the sample exam question, the sample answer question, and questions people emailed me in advance. After that, I will take questions, but they must be somewhat focused, and show me that you have already worked through an answer. I will not take “Can you explain this topic…” type questions today.
Section B (Afternoon)

Live CHat
Lecture Notes

Section D (Evening)

Live Chat
Lecture Notes

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Prop2 Class 26: Regulatory Takings III

Last (real) class! School’s (almost) out for winter.
Today we cover three cases that wrap up the regulatory takings unit. First, Tahoe-Sierra v. Tahoe Regional Planning Authority, which largely cabins Lucas v. South Carolina. Second and third, two related and rhyming cases on exactions–Nollan v. California Coastal Commission and Dolan v. City of Tigard.
Section B (afternoon)

Live Chat
Lecture Notes

Section D (evening)

Live Chat
Lecture Notes

Lake Tahoe is a large freshwater lake on the border of Nevada and California.

View Larger Map
This is the original bungalow from Nolan.

Here is an aerial view of the new Nollan house.
This is the strip of beach behind Nolan’s house where the California Coastal Commission wanted to have an easement.

Here is a photo of the store from Dolan v. City of Tigard, and the creek behind the store.

Here is an aerial view of the property from Dolan.

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Prop2: Class 25- Regulatory Takings II

Today we will cover Lucas v. South Carolina Coastal Council and Palazzolo v. Rhode Island.
Section B (Afternoon)

Live Chat
Lecture Notes

Section D (Evening)

Live Chat
Lecture Notes

Here is a diagram to explain the property at issue in Lucas.
 
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Prop2: Sample Final Exam Question and Answer

The Question
Instructions: You are an associate at a law firm. Your lazy partner, who is quite short on time, asks you to prepare a memorandum of no more than 500 words addressing a situation affecting a client. You are in a jurisdiction that, for the most part, adopts the rules of the Restatement (First) of Property, but is gradually moving towards the Restatement (Third) of Property. The jurisdiction has a “Notice” recording statute. The period required for adverse possession is ten years with color of title, and twenty years without color of title .
Here are all the facts. If you draw any inferences beyond these facts, please explain why you drew those inferences.
On January 1, 2011, your client Aladdin purchased Blackacre from Oliver with a general warranty deed for $100,000. Oliver told Aladdin that he owned the land in fee simple, and that there were no encumbrances on the title.
Aladdin, who was otherwise involved in a bitter dispute with his girlfriend Jasmine (she acted like such a Princess!), delayed recording until January 1, 2012.
Unbeknownst to Aladdin, Oliver also sold Blackacre to Bambi for $50,000 on June 1, 2011. Oliver gave Bambi a quit-claim deed, though Oliver never signed it. Bambi recorded the same day, on June 1, 2011. However, the clerk who recorded the deed accidentally wrote “Greyacre” instead of “Blackacre.” Bambi knew nothing about the sale of Blackacre to Aladdin.
Bambi did not enter the property right away, as she was grieving the tragic death of her mother.
On January 2, 2012, Aladdin finally enters Blackacre, and decides to open the forest, which is extremely over-populated with deer, to hunters for a fee. WIthin 24 hours, Aladdin sells out hunting passes for the year for $20,000.
Gaston, a renowned hunter, enters the land, fires his gun, and kills a deer.
Captain Hook, who owns Whiteacre, which is adjacent to Blackacre, is startled by the gunshot, and comes running over and yells at Aladdin, telling him hunting is not allowed on the land. The Captain is very sensitive to sound.
The Captain says, “Look around at every other plot of land in the area. There is no hunting allowed anywhere in the county!” Aladdin said he didn’t even notice.
Aladdin told the Captain that his land was so over-populated by deer, who were eating all of his crops, that he needed to do something to reduce the number of deer. Aladdin said “this was the only way I could save my land!”
The Captain tells Aladdin that when he sold Blackacre to Donald Duck thirty years ago, the Captain added an easement on the deed, stating that hunting would not be allowed on Blackacre.
Aladdin tells the Captain that he “purchased Blackacre in fee simple from Oliver, not Donald Duck.” Aladdin had no clue who Donald Duck was. The Captain looks confused, and said that he had seen Oliver on the land occasionally over the last 5 years, and before that Eeyore had lived on the land continuously for six years. Oliver claimed he acquired a deed from Eeyore, but it was never recorded. Eeyore obtained a deed to the land from a sheriff’s sale. Eeyore never recorded his deed. However, years later–after Oliver acquired title from Eeyore and entered the land–a court determined that the the sheriff’s sale was based on an invalid foreclosure. Oliver had no notice that the foreclosure sale was invalid. The Captain said he did not mind that Eeyore and Oliver were on the land, as they were quiet. However, the Captain said that Donald Duck was the lawful owner. Aladdin said he had never even heard of Donald Duck.
Shortly thereafter, Bambi, still traumatized from the death of her mother, enters Blackacre, and discovers to her absolute shock and horror, that Aladdin is allowing deer-hunters onto the land.
The Captain filed suit to enjoin hunting on Blackacre, and claimed that the noise from the gunshots constitute a nuisance, seeking $5,000 in damages. Bambi filed an action to quiet title, and to oust Aladdin from Blackacre.
What are Aladdin’s best defenses against the suits brought by Captain Hook and Bambi? What actions may exist against Oliver? What should Aladdin do (and no, Genie can’t help)?
The Answer (Exactly 499 Words)
First, the court must determine if Oliver–the common grantor to grantees Aladdin and Bambi–had title to Blackacre. Even though the deed Eeyore obtained from the sheriff’s sale was invalid, he lived on the land continuously for six years under color of title (defective deed). Oliver obtained a deed from Eeyore, so the two are in privity. Oliver’s five years of use may be tacked to Eeyore’s six years. However Oliver only frequented the land “occasionally.” If a court finds that Oliver’s use is sufficient to satisfy the jurisdictions 10-year adverse possession statute under color of title, Oliver had title to Blackacre. If not, Oliver lacked title. But, ultimately, this doesn’t matter as both Aladdin and Bambi were subsequent purchasers for value without notice.
Whether or not Oliver had a valid title to Blackacre, as between Aladdin and Bambi, Bambi has superior title in a notice jurisdiction. Bambi was a subsequent purchaser for value without notice. Though Oliver never signed the deed, the receipt of $50,000 and actual transfer of the deed is sufficient to imply delivery. The fact that the clerk mistakenly recorded the deed as “Greyacre” rather than “Blackacre” would not change the fact that Bambi has superior title with respect to Aladdin as she took without notice. However Bambi’s misrecorded deed wouldn’t be effective against subsequent purchasers as it outside the ascertainable chain of title. The fact that Bambi did not enter till much later is immaterial.
Though the deed from Captain to Donald 30 years ago contained a negative easement limiting hunting, Eeyore and Oliver jointly obtaining Blackacre through adverse possession following the sheriff’s sale breaks the chain of title. Thus, the negative easement does not apply to Aladdin’s deed. A court may find that there is an implied negative easement against hunting in light of the fact that hunting is not allowed anywhere else in the county. However, it is much less likely that a court would imply a positive easement to permit hunting in light of the fact that hunting was the only way to “save” the land from deer overpopulation. Courts in First Restatement jurisdictions tend to construe the absolute necessity of implied easements strictly, though the modern trend is to recognize implied easements by necessity more easily.
A court may find that Aladdin is liable to Captain for a nuisance, irrespective of any easements, though the Captain’s idiosyncratic sensitivity to sound may weaken this claim. Because Aladdin earned $20,000 from hunting licenses, and the Captain is only suing for $5,000, Aladdin should consider settling with the Captain for some amount greater than $5,000. This will leave both parties better off.
Aladdin could sue Oliver under the general warranty deed for a breach of the covenant of seizin, and seek the return of the $100,000 purchase price to restore the status quo, but could not recover the $20,000 for hunting passes. Bambi could not sue Oliver because she only obtained a quitclaim deed, which provides no guarantees.
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