ContractsProf Blog

Editor: Myanna Dellinger
University of South Dakota School of Law

Monday, May 12, 2008

Limerick of the Week: Watteau v. Fenwick

459pxbovril_250g It is worth teaching Business Associations just for this case.  It is the perfect illustration of the doctrine of inherent authority.  It has all of the necessary ingredients: a general agent for an undisclosed principal who exceeds his authority by entering into a contract for goods he was not authorized to purchase.  It also has a special added ingredient: Bovril. 

As I tell my students, Bovril was developed by French scientists after the Franco-Prussian War because they thought that concentrated beef extract would enhance the fighting ability of French soldiers.  In order to demonstrate the effectiveness of this technique, I instruct my students to go to the home page, enter "French military victories" and then hit the "I'm feeling lucky" button.  It's a crowd pleaser. 

Anyhew, here's the Limerick:

Watteau v. Fenwick

Inherent authority imposes
Liability where no one discloses
The one whose dinars
Are owed for cigars . . .
And other goods that offend noses.

[Jeremy Telman]

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