Monday, February 12, 2007
The casebook that I use does not include a case that addresses the peppercorn theory of consideration, so I supplement the book with Fischer v. Union Trust Co. In that case, one of the brothers of the incompetent Bertha Fischer gave her a dollar, which she then passed on to her father, William Fischer, Sr., as purported consideration for a deed on certain property. William Sr. descirbed the deed as "a nice Christmas present."
I love this case, with its sweet (and remarkably precise!) details of a deal that had occurred nine years earlier. But I can see why casebook editors would want to steer clear. There is a disucssion of "three classes of consideration," which students find completely opaque. It's also an uncomfortable vehicle for teaching peppercorn theory, as the opinion conclusorily states that Bertha "paid no valuable consideration" for the promised conveyance. That's silly. The 1895 dollar pictured above is now worth $750!
But what really bothers me is that it is very hard to work the word "consideration" into a Limerick.
Consideration provision is tough:
One dollar isn't enough.
Has this court grown weary
Of peppercorn theory
Or is the transaction a bluff?