Monday, December 15, 2008

*Warning* Serious Geek Alert

A classmate and fellow Ringer gave this to me as a study aid for my Property exam. Best Exam Question EVER.

Frodo BAGGINS v. SMEAGOL a.k.a. Gollum, DENETHOR ex. rel. Estate of Isilduir, & SAURON

Sauron, the ruler of the land of Mordor forged a ring at Mount Doom in Mordor. During a war by the nations of Gondor and Arnor against Mordor, Isilduir, the leader of the nation of Arnor, took the ring from Sauron (knocking him into a coma in the process) and immediately headed northwest to return home. Unfortunately, while he was traveling through Gladden Fields (several hundred miles away from Mordor), he was ambushed and killed, and the ring fell into the River Anduin.

Many years later, a local named Deagol found the ring while fishing with his friend, Smeagol. Because it was Smeagol’s birthday, Deagol gave him the ring as a birthday present. Five years later, Smeagol moved several hundred miles north to a cave outside Goblintown where he assumed the name of “Gollum.” During this time, Smeagol kept the ring in his pocket or on his finger, but no one was ever able to see it.

After Smeagol had lived like this for several decades, a burglar named Bilbo Baggins trespassed in Smeagol’s home, found the ring partially imbedded in the mud, and took it home to Hobbiton, several hundred miles to the west. Bilbo kept it for several decades in a stand on his mantle, though he sometimes took it out and wore it. He often told his nephew and heir, Frodo Baggins, about how he got the ring from Gollum, but insisted that his actions were rightful and legitimate.

During this time, Sauron had recovered from his coma, and immediately recruited nine collection agents, known as the Nazgul, to get it back, using force if necessary. Also, immediately after Bilbo took the ring from Smeagol, Smeagol began a relentless personal search for the ring, broken up only by a couple of bouts of prison time (including one lasting a decade).

In the meantime, Frodo inherited the ring from Bilbo. Immediately upon receiving his inheritance, Frodo’s friend Gandalf warned him that Sauron had sent the Nazgul to seek the ring and advised him to “keep it safe and secret.” Frodo did so for seventeen years (keeping it hidden in a box in his house and referring to it, when he referred to it at all, as “Sauron’s ring”), after which Gandalf advised him to take the ring to Mordor to destroy it.

Along the way, the prior possessors began to catch up with Frodo. First, the Nazgul cornered Frodo and demanded the ring, but he managed to evade them. Later, Boromir, the son of Denethor, the executor of Isilduir’s estate informed Frodo that the ring was part of Isilduir’s estate and must be returned to Denethor for distribution. Still later, Smeagol found Frodo and tried to seize the ring, crying “It’s ours! They stole it! Give it to us!” This was the final straw for Frodo; he sued them all to quiet title.

Discuss all issues that will arise in this suit between Frodo, Smeagol, Isilduir’s estate, and Sauron. The statute of limitations on replevin in Middle Earth (where all these events took place) is seven years. Also, assume that Isilduir’s taking of the ring from Sauron falls under Chief Justice Marshall’s opinion regarding acquisition by conquest.

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