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Valparaiso Univ. Law School

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Friday, January 13, 2012

Professor Craswell's Song for Rose (Sherwood v. Walker)

And here it is: the last in our series of links to Professor Richard Craswell's series of first-year contracts cases put to song.   Previous installments in the series from Professor Craswell have included his takes on Frigaliment Lumley, Wood v. Lady Duff Gordon, Alaska Packers, Parker v. Twentieth Century Fox, and Wartzman v. Hightower Productions.

We have blogged about Sherwood v. Walker before, here, here, and here.  Professor Craswell provides the following summary of the case:

Boy meets cow. Boy loses cow. Boy files an action in replevin. And now Plymouth (Michigan) takes its rightful place beside Verona (Italy) and the upper West Side (Manhattan) as the home of legendary star-crossed lovers!

Oh, all right. The actual facts of the case are more prosaic. Theodore Sherwood, who wanted to buy the cow, was the 47-year-old PRESIDENT of the local bank, who would never have considered hopping a freight train out of town. Though his motive in purchasing the cow is obscure, there was of course no evidence that his interest in the cow was anything other than financial. And the eventual outcome of the case was far happier than that portrayed here, for the pedigreed cow in question ("Rose the Second of Aberlone") went on to have at least five additional calves, whose registration papers each listed none other than Theodore Sherwood as the breeder. Still, no Hollywood or Nashville producer would have settled for the facts described above. Make the banker a penniless but romantic youth; change his interest in the cow to something more than "just good friends"; then tack on an implausible but heart-wrenching ending (and label the result "inspired by a true story") ... well, do all that, and you might just have the next big musical hit!

The rather long list of poems inspired by Rose of Aberlone begins famously wiith Brainerd Currie, "Aberlone, Rose of (Being an entry for an index)," first published in the Harvard Law School Record, Mar. 4, 1954, p. 3, and stiill widely available on various web sites. See also Alan Garfield, "Basic Assumption: A Poem Based on Sherwood v Walker," 57 SMU L. Rev. 137 (2004); and the various verses that can be found (along with much background on the case itself) in Norman Otto Stockmeyer, "To Err is Human, To Moo Bovine: The Rose of Aberlone Story," 24 T.M. Cooley L Rev 491 (2007).

 The whole series can be found here,

Thanks to Professor Craswell for sharing these songs and YouTube creations with us!

[JT]

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