The Deadman Night Rider

A forum for evening students of the SMU Dedman School of Law and other outlaws..

Saturday, February 11, 2006

More proof that law professors have too much time on their hands...

I guess a classic is a classic. I read part of our assignment for Contracts this morning, which included the apparently wildly famous case of Sherwood v. Walker. The short version is that Walker sold Sherwood a cow (named Rose 2nd of Aberlone) for slaughter for $80 because Walker thought she was barren--if it had been certain that she was a breeder, her value would have been about $800. There is some evidence that Walker bought her thinking there was still a chance she could breed, but he did know Walker thought she was barren. Anyway, when she was weighed in at the yard, they discovered she was pregnant--so Walker crawfished on the deal. The court found for Walker on the basis of mutual mistake and voided the contract.

Personally, I think Sherwood got screwed on this deal--he bargained for a chance, after all--but evidently this has become the case that every 1L reads to introduce the concept of mutual mistake. I fired up Lexis to find out if anyone else thought the case came out wrong, and found all sorts of references to this poem written by Professor Brainerd Currie about the celebrated Rose of Aberlone. Clocking in at an impressive five stanzas and over 2,500 words, the poem is no mean feat, including lines like these:

To the cattle-yard with its sinister scale,
The better to finish the dreadful sale.
She was put in charge of good George Graham
(Were there cows to be weighed? Well, he would weigh 'em).

Or, my favorite so far,

Now, one of the Bench's keenest students
Of animal law and jurisprudence
Was Michigan's Mr. Justice Morse.
If a case involved a hind or a horse
They would call on him--for that was his forte--
To deliver the judgment of the court.

Well, I guess now we know what these guys are doing outside of class instead of grading exams and thinking greath thoughts. With that, I'll now get back to what I should be doing.


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