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Editor: D. A. Jeremy Telman
Valparaiso Univ. Law School

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Monday, June 2, 2008

Limerick of the Week: Hoddeson v. Koos Bros.

Shakespeare Shakespeare?  Overrated!  I mean, I've looked through the guy's works -- ahem, excuse me, oeuvre -- and I have many complaints.  First, the guy can't spell.  Second, his plays are full of cliches.  "There's something rotten in the state of Denmark;" "To be or not to be;" "It was [all] Greek to me;" "All the world's a stage;" "Parting is such sweet sorrow;" etc., etc.  Sheesh.  Get a ghost writer if you can't come up with your own ideas.  Third, if this so-called poet thinks that "brevity is the soul of wit," why does he have this thing for sonnets?  Why say something in fourteen lines of pentameter that can be said in five lines of trimeter and dimeter?  Indeed, the man wrote all these plays and sonnets, but not a stinkin' Limerick!! And still, courts quote him with abandon, as if he were a source of law, like foreign law and international law is.

To wit, in Hoddeson v. Koos Bros., the court explains Ms. Hoddeson's trip to the furniture store as follows: "her eyes had fallen upon certain articles of bedroom furniture which she ardently desired to acquire for her home."  Understandable.  The learned judge continues: "It has been said that 'the sea hath bounds but deep desire hath none.'"  I knew right off (from the misspellings/archaisms) that this must be Shakespeare.  Fancy.  Big deal.  The case isn't even about maritime law.

Anyway, after lengthy negotiations, Ms. Hoddeson tendered $168.50 to what she took to be a salesman.  He told her to expect delivery of the furniture but did not give a receipt.  This man turned out to be a silver-haired mountebank and the furniture never arrived.  Indeed, this is the stuff of tragedy.  A truly great tradegian would find suitable materials here.  But the case also serves to illustrate the doctrine of agency by estoppel.  A wordy person could write a sonnet to convey that information, but a truly talented poet can make due with a Limerick:

Hoddeson v. Koos Bros.

"Desire hath no bounds," quoth the bard,
But Ms. Hoddeson had maxed out her card!
Unless the store is estopped,
Her suit must be dropped
And shoppers must be on their guard.

[Jeremy Telman]

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Comments

Alas, thou hast cast mine eyes into my very soul, and there I see such dark and grained spots as will not leave their tinct!

Posted by: Sofa Charlatan | Jun 4, 2008 2:55:18 PM

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