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CALIFORNIA CORPORATE & SECURITIES LAW

The Statue And Statute Of The Three Lies

The Statue of Three Lies

In Harvard Yard, there is a prominent bronze statue of a man sitting on a chair.  The statue is the work of the prolific American sculptor Daniel Chester French.  The statue is vaguely reminiscent of French’s more famous depiction of a sitting President Abraham Lincoln in the Lincoln Memorial.  (Does it really make sense to call a depiction of a sitting figure, a “statue”?)  The pedestal to the Harvard statue is inscribed with the following three lines:

John Harvard
Founder
1638

Wags often refer to this as “The Statue of Three Lies” because the statue doesn’t actually depict John Harvard (French used a model); Mr. Harvard wasn’t “the founder” of Harvard (although he did make a generous bequest to the college); and the school was actually founded in 1636 (not 1638).

The Statute of Three Lies

The name of California’s general partnership law has the same tenuous relationship with the truth.  It is officially titled as the “Uniform Partnership Act of 1994”.  Cal. Corp. Code § 16101.  This is rather mysterious as the law was actually enacted two years later.  1996 Cal. Stats. ch. 1003 (AB 583).  The year 1994 was attached to the act because the bill’s author, Assembly Member Byron D. Sher, had originally introduced the bill in 1994 (AB 2612).  The original bill faced strong headwinds from a variety of different constituencies and was put over for further study until 1996.  The year 1994, however, also doesn’t make sense because AB 583 was based on the Revised Uniform Partnership Act (RUPA) adopted by the National Conference of  Commissioners of Uniform State Laws in 1993.  In any event, AB 583 didn’t begin to govern all partnerships until January 1, 1999.  Cal. Corp. Code § 16111(b).  The net result is that the California Uniform Partnership Act of 1994: (i) was based on a 1993 version of a uniform law; (ii) was enacted in 1996; and (iii) did not apply to all partnerships until 1999.

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