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Gift by Poetry: Followup Exclusive — The Poem


On April Fools Day I wrote Gift by Poetry: Dogged Unfairness or Poetic Justice? about a recent appellate decision involving a poetic gift of a pet dog. I received a lot of good feedback on the piece and the story was picked up by the popular Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog.

I also got an e-mail from Kent Nielsen, who found my post by Google search. You might remember Mr. Nielsen as the defendant in this case — and per the court decisions, the rightful owner of the subject canine, the Stig.  Yes, that’s the Stig above!  🙂

Mr. Nielsen was kind enough to indulge my curiosity by providing me with a scanned copy of that poem…and here it is:


In case that’s difficult to read, here is the text of the poem:

Gifting for Christmas is usually boring
Neckties and tube socks can have you snoring
Train sets and gadgets are favorites of boys
I wanted to give you something better than toys
Slippers and sweaters may keep you from the cold
But they won’t keep you company as you grow old
What you’re getting this year won’t require a guess
But he will demand cleaning a lifetime of mess
Some say when he sleeps he looks like a cherub
Some say he smells bad after he’s eaten a careb
This year no chestnuts or pudding of fig
Your present this Christmas?  We call him…The Stig!

How prescient — a boring Christmas gift this was not. Perhaps this explains why Ms. Koerner didn’t dispute donative intent or submit the poem to the appellate court.

A few additional details (at least those I can share):

  • At the time the case was heard in 2012, Ms. Koerner was a third-year law student at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago. A search of the Illinois ARDC website shows that, at least as of today, she is not yet a licensed attorney in Illinois (though new attorneys are inducted each May).
  • The ‘Detinue Complaint’ was filed on April 20, 2012 by Ms. Koerner who applied to sue as an indigent person.
  • Mr. Nielsen informs me that the Stig is extremely well cared for, accompanies him to work daily and has an extensive support network of people willing begging to care for the Stig. When Mr. Nielsen has to travel, his business partners argue over who gets to care for the Stig.

Thank you to Kent Nielsen for sharing the poem (and more) with me.