Property I Class Website

Prof. Scott B. Ehrlich
Fall 2014

Welcome to the Property Class Website

This website provides updated information about the course and assignments. It also contains links to the handouts and materials used in the course, as well as links to sites on the web.  Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Please note: All materials on this web site are protected by copyright and intended for use only by students enrolled in Property II at California Western School of Law. Students enrolled in the class may copy these materials to their own computers. However, these materials may not be transferred to others or posted on publicly accessible web sites.


We will be using two resources: (1) Ehrlich, Assignments & Supplement; and, (2) Dukeminier, Property (8th ed).  All of the Assignments for the course are contained in the photocopied materials or on-line via this link: Assignments for the entire Semester.  Assignments the next few classes will always be posted below.  As time passes, you can find earlier assignments at the following link: Past Assignments.


Note: Hit the “refresh” button on your browser to make sure that you are looking at a current version of the assignments, rather than a cached version on your computer.


Professor Barton and Professor Ehrlich will be swapping classes on the following dates:

Wednesday, October 8th: Property class will be taught during the Civil Procedure time slot (11:50-1:05 in Room 2B). The class will be recorded for Part-Time students.

Thursday, October 16th: Civil Procedure class will be taught during the Property time slot (8:00-9:15 in Room LH2). .


1.     Thursday, October 30:

a.     Some Anomalous Doctrines - Preventing Limitations on Marketability

i.       Read about the Destructibility of Contingent Remainders, and the abolition of the Rule, at pages 303-306.

ii.      Read about the Rule in Shelley's Case, and the abolition of the Rule, at pages 306-307.

iii.     Read about the Doctrine of Worthier Title at page 307

b.     The Rule Against Perpetuities (this material will not be on the midterm exam):

i.       Read Supplement pages 48-49.

ii.      Read Dukeminier pages 307-312. Do problems 1-4 on pages 312-313.

iii.     Grantor’s Interests: pages 314-315.

iv.    Answer the following Rule Against Perpetuity hypos:  PDF, MSWord

v.      The answers to the Rule Against Perpetuities Hypos are online.  Answer the hypos first, then check your answer against these: Answers

c.      Introduction to Concurrent ownership

i.       Pages 343-348. Read Riddle v. Harmon and notes 1-2 following the case at pages 348-354.

(1)   Challenge Question:  In Riddle v. Harmon, the co-owners took title as Joint Tenants With Right of Survivorship.  Either co-owner could easily sever the joint tenancy survivorship feature at any time prior to death by a new conveyance of his or her 50% interest to a strawman (such as a lawyer), who then immediately conveys it back to him or her.  This would break the four unities.  Write a simple grant to Ann and Bob in a manner that the survivor will take 100% when the other co-owner dies, and no co-owner can unilaterally change that outcome.

2.     Tuesday, November 4:

a.     Harms v. Sprague and notes 1-3 following the case at pages 354-359.

i.       Respond to this Hypothetical:  Ann & Bob own Blackacre, as joint tenants with right of survivorship. Blackacre is worth $1 million.  Ann needs to borrow $100,000 so she applies to Bank for a loan.  Bank requests a mortgage lien on Ann’s 50% interest in Blackacre as collateral for the loan.  Ann executes a “mortgage” of her 50% interest to Bank.  Does the granting of the mortgage to Bank sever the survivorship component of the JTWROS between Ann and Bob?  Should it sever? If we apply the hyper-technical “4 unities” then the answer will depend on whether or not we are in a “Lien Theory” state or a “Title Theory” States.  In lien theory states, the lien is just an encumbrance on the fee and does not sever.  In title theory states, the mortgage is seen as a conveyance in trust to the Bank and will sever the right of survivorship.  Why are both points of view problematic?

b.     Partition & Relations Among Concurrent Owners:

i.       Pages 361–362. Delfino v. Vealencis and notes 1, 2, 4 and 5 following the case at pages 362-371.

3.     Thursday, November 6:

a.     Relations Among Concurrent Owners:

i.       Note “b” at page 371. Spiller v. Mackereth and notes 1-3 following the case at pages 372-375.

ii.      Swartzbaugh v. Sampson1 and notes 1-3 following the case at pages 375-380.

(1)   It is helpful to note that Mrs. Lola Swartzbaugh is the plaintiff and there are two defendants: Sam Sampson (the lessee) and Mr. John Swartzbaugh (Lola’s husband and co-owner).

(2)   Read the notes at pages 380-382.

iii.     Read the following interesting excerpt from Powell on Real Property

b.     Accounting & Contribution:

i.       Read & answer the hypos at this link:  Accounting & Contribution Hypos.  Pay special attention to Hypo #5.  Many treatises state that Ann is liable to her cotenants for all of the profits received by Ann.  Why are the treatises probably wrong?

4.     Tuesday, November 11:

a.     Marital Interests: 

i.       Introduction: Pages 383-385. Do not do the problem on page 385.

ii.      Tenancies by the Entireties: Sawada v. Endo at pages 385-393 and notes 1-2 following the case.

iii.     Protecting Spouses Upon Death or Dissolution: Pages 393-395 and pages 407-410.

iv.    Community Property: Pages 410-415.

b.     Introduction to Easements:

i.       Part IV(A)(1): Pages 809-814.

c.      Creation of Easements:

i.       Willard v. First Church of Christ, Scientist at pages 768-772 and notes 1-4 following the case at pages 814-820. Read about licenses on page 820.

5.     Thursday, November 13:

a.     Final Exam Information

b.     Easements Created by Estoppel

i.       Holbrook v. Taylor and notes 1-3 at pages 820-825.

(1)   Why were the Taylor’s unsuccessful in establishing an easement by prescription?

(2)   Why were the Taylor’s successful in establishing an easement by estoppel?

(3)   What are the elements required to establish an easement by estoppel?

6.     Tuesday, November 18:

a.     Easements Created by Implication:

i.       Van Sandt v. Royster at pages 825-831.

ii.      Notes at pages 831-833.

b.     Easements Created by Necessity:

i.       Othen v. Rosier at and notes 1-4 following the case at pages 833-842.

7.     Thursday, November 20:

8.     Tuesday, November 25:

9.     Thursday, November 27: Thanksgiving Holiday

10.  Tuesday, December 2

11.  Thursday, December 4

12.  Tuesday, December 7

13.  Thursday, December 9




Links and Reference Materials  

There is a password for some documents on this website.  It will be announced in class and emailed to you.

1.     Rule Against Perpetuity hypos:  PDF, MSWord

2.     Answers to the Rule Against Perpetuities Hypos : Answers

3.     Estates In Land Worksheet: PDF, MSWord

4.     Answers to Estates in Land Hypos

5.     Midterm Exam Info

6.     California Adverse Possession Statutes

7.     California Codes.  link connects you to the official site of the State of California and allows you to search any of the California Codes.  For instance, to find out about tenant security deposits, click “Civil Code” and insert “tenant security deposit” in the search block.

Questions & Answers

If you have a question that you would like answered, e-mail Prof. Ehrlich at: Your name will not be posted, just the question & answer. We have powerful & enthusiastic junk email filters. If you send me email from an outside account (not your law school email account) make sure you put the word “Property” in the Subject line.


The following links will take you to a compilation of questions posed by prior students, and answers posted by Prof. Ehrlich:  


General Questions & Answers


Estates in Land Questions & Answers


Contact Prof. Ehrlich

E-mail: sbe@cwsl.eduPlease put the word “Property” in the Subject line.
Tel: 619-525-1416
Office: Room 313, Administration Building (225 Cedar St.)


Office Hours





Other Times:

I’m often available, please knock.