ContractsProf Blog

Editor: Myanna Dellinger
University of South Dakota School of Law

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Maybe my imagination isn't that imaginative....

220px-Mammoth_skeleton_01At the wonderful contracts conference this past weekend at Thomas Jefferson (yes, thanks again, Eniola), I learned that, when they excavated to build the school's fabulous new building, remains of a wooly mammoth were discovered.  Coincidentally, just this fall, my final exam concerned a contract for the sale of real property.  After contract but before closing, the seller had sprinkler repairs done on the lawn and the repair company discovered the skeleton of a dinosaur.  Neither buyer or seller was aware of the skeletal remains at the time of contract.  Seller wants to rescind.  Mutual mistake?

This semester we walked through a hypo about a lease that allows the tenants to keep one "household pet." "Household pet" is nowhere defined in the lease.  Tenant obtains a kangaroo to keep as a pet. Our task was to discuss how a court would go about figuring out whether a kangaroo is a "household pet."  I thought this imaginative until today, when this story came to my attention.  It doesn't answer the question whether a kangaroo is a "household pet," but it does suggest that maybe my imagination isn't that imaginative.

[Meredith R. Miller]

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According to Cambridge lore, Lord Byron kept a pet bear because university rules prohibited pet dogs but were silent on the subject of bears.

Posted by: Jeremy Telman | Mar 6, 2012 12:33:59 PM

Hairy situation re: the dinosaur hypo. If I'm the judge, I say the seller assumed the risk that an important paleological discovery could be made on the land; alternatively, the existence of dinosaur remains was not a material element or assumption of the bargain for the sale of the land. I don't think mutual mistake would apply in that situation.

Posted by: Matthew Rappaport | Mar 6, 2012 2:46:47 PM

Considering that there is an entire television series based on the thesis of a pet kangaroo....

I assert it isn't a novel idea.

As an aside, I do know an Aussie family that has a pet kangaroo. It sleeps on the couch in the parlor at night but it can hop around the property during the day. They assert that roos are much better guard animals than dogs.

Posted by: Daniel | Mar 7, 2012 11:05:45 PM

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