ContractsProf Blog

Editor: Myanna Dellinger
University of South Dakota School of Law

Monday, November 22, 2004

Happy Fiftieth Birthday to Lucy v. Zehmer!

Birthday_cake_1 Who would have thought that two good ol’ Virginnie boys sitting at a bar getting "high as a Georgia pine" would lead to one of the most famous and popular of American contract cases?  Yet fifty years to the day after the Virginia Supreme Court decided Lucy v. Zehmer, the case is a fixture of nearly every contracts casebook—and is likely to remain so.

Douglas Boshkoff’s limerick on the case:

Land contracts are serious stuff,
So Lucy's attorney got tough.
"We don't know the truth.
Was it due to vermouth?"
Well, the court quickly called Zehmer's bluff.

From:  Selected Poems on the Law of Contracts, 66 N.Y.U.L. Rev. 1533, 1536 (1991)

The opinion is here in HTML and here in PDF.  For an interesting Lithuanian-English parallel translation (ever wonder how Lithuanians say "high as a Georgia pine"?) see here.

To include your thoughts and comments on the case in the Birthday Book, just click on the "comments" link at the foot of this message.

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