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Full-Text Articles in Law

The Social Cost Of Contract, David A. Hoffman, Cathy Hwang Jun 2020

The Social Cost Of Contract, David A. Hoffman, Cathy Hwang

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

When private parties perform contracts, the public bears some of the costs. But what happens when society confronts unexpected contractual risks? During the COVID-19 pandemic, completing particular contracts—such as following through with weddings, conferences, and other large gatherings—will greatly increase the risk of rapidly spreading disease. A close reading of past cases illustrates that when social hazards sharply increase after formation, courts have sometimes rejected, reformed, and reinterpreted contracts so that parties who breach to reduce external harms are not left holding the bag.

This Essay builds on that observation in making two contributions. Theoretically, it characterizes contracts ...


Unwritten Rules And The New Contract Paradigm, David A. Skeel Jr. May 2020

Unwritten Rules And The New Contract Paradigm, David A. Skeel Jr.

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In a recent essay—part of a larger book project-- Douglas Baird contends that the standard accounts of the history of corporate reorganization miss an essential feature: the extent to which both current and prior practice have been governed by unwritten rules (such as full disclosure and the opportunity for each party to participate in the negotiations) that “are well-known to insiders, but largely invisible to those on the outside.” According to Professor Baird, the unwritten rules, not bankruptcy’s distribution provisions or other features of the Bankruptcy Code, are the essence of corporate reorganization.

This essay is a short ...


A Formulaic Recitation Will Not Do: Why, As A Matter Of Law, Federal Rule Of Criminal Procedure 7(C) Should Be Interpreted To Be At Least As Stringent As Federal Rule Of Civil Procedure 8(A), Charles Eric Hintz Apr 2020

A Formulaic Recitation Will Not Do: Why, As A Matter Of Law, Federal Rule Of Criminal Procedure 7(C) Should Be Interpreted To Be At Least As Stringent As Federal Rule Of Civil Procedure 8(A), Charles Eric Hintz

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

When a plaintiff files a civil lawsuit in federal court, her complaint must satisfy certain minimum standards. Specifically, under the prevailing understanding of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a), a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face, rather than mere conclusory statements tracking the elements of a cause of action. Given the infinitely higher stakes involved in criminal cases, one might think that at least as robust a requirement would exist in that context. But, in fact, a weaker pleading standard reigns. Under the governing interpretation of Federal ...


House Judiciary Inquiry Into Competition In Digital Markets: Statement, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Apr 2020

House Judiciary Inquiry Into Competition In Digital Markets: Statement, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This is a response to a query from the Judiciary Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives, requesting my views about the adequacy of existing antitrust policy in digital markets.

The statutory text of the United States antitrust laws is very broad, condemning all anticompetitive restraints on trade, monopolization, and mergers and interbrand contractual exclusion whose effect “may be substantially to lessen competition or tend to create a monopoly.” Federal judicial interpretation is much narrower, however, for several reasons. One is the residue of a reaction against excessive antitrust enforcement in the 1970s and earlier. However, since that time ...


A New (Republican) Litigation State?, Stephen B. Burbank, Sean Farhang Mar 2020

A New (Republican) Litigation State?, Stephen B. Burbank, Sean Farhang

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

It is a commonplace in American politics that Democrats are far more likely than Republicans to favor access to courts to enforce individual rights with lawsuits. In this article we show that conventional wisdom, long true, no longer reflects party agendas in Congress. We report the results of an empirical examination of bills containing private rights of action with pro-plaintiff fee-shifting provisions that were introduced in Congress from 1989 through 2018. The last eight years of our data document escalating Republican-party support for proposals to create individual rights enforceable by private lawsuits, mobilized with attorney’s fee awards. By 2015-18 ...


Politics, Identity, And Class Certification On The U.S. Courts Of Appeals, Stephen B. Burbank, Sean Farhang Mar 2020

Politics, Identity, And Class Certification On The U.S. Courts Of Appeals, Stephen B. Burbank, Sean Farhang

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This article draws on novel data and presents the results of the first empirical analysis of how potentially salient characteristics of Court of Appeals judges influence class certification under Rule 23. We find that the ideological composition of the panel (measured by the party of the appointing president) has a very strong association with certification outcomes, with all-Democratic panels having dramatically higher rates of certification than all-Republican panels—early triple in about the past twenty years. We also find that the presence of one African American on a panel, and the presence of two females (but not one), is associated ...


Power And Statistical Significance In Securities Fraud Litigation, Jill E. Fisch, Jonah B. Gelbach Feb 2020

Power And Statistical Significance In Securities Fraud Litigation, Jill E. Fisch, Jonah B. Gelbach

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Event studies, a half-century-old approach to measuring the effect of events on stock prices, are now ubiquitous in securities fraud litigation. In determining whether the event study demonstrates a price effect, expert witnesses typically base their conclusion on whether the results are statistically significant at the 95% confidence level, a threshold that is drawn from the academic literature. As a positive matter, this represents a disconnect with legal standards of proof. As a normative matter, it may reduce enforcement of fraud claims because litigation event studies typically involve quite low statistical power even for large-scale frauds.

This paper, written for ...


Ai In Adjudication And Administration, Cary Coglianese, Lavi M. Ben Dor Feb 2020

Ai In Adjudication And Administration, Cary Coglianese, Lavi M. Ben Dor

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The use of artificial intelligence has expanded rapidly in recent years across many aspects of the economy. For federal, state, and local governments in the United States, interest in artificial intelligence has manifested in the use of a series of digital tools, including the occasional deployment of machine learning, to aid in the performance of a variety of governmental functions. In this paper, we canvas the current uses of such digital tools and machine-learning technologies by the judiciary and administrative agencies in the United States. Although we have yet to see fully automated decision-making find its way into either adjudication ...


Mitigations: The Forgotten Side Of The Proportionality Principle, Paul H. Robinson Jan 2020

Mitigations: The Forgotten Side Of The Proportionality Principle, Paul H. Robinson

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In the first change to the Model Penal Code since its promulgation in 1962, the American Law Institute in 2017 set blameworthiness proportionality as the dominant distributive principle for criminal punishment. Empirical studies suggest that this is in fact the principle that ordinary people use in assessing proper punishment. Its adoption as the governing distributive principle makes good sense because it promotes not only the classic desert retributivism of moral philosophers but also crime-control utilitarianism, by enhancing the criminal law’s moral credibility with the community and thereby promoting deference, compliance, acquiescence, and internalization of its norms, rather than suffering ...


Dimensions Of Delegation, Cary Coglianese Nov 2019

Dimensions Of Delegation, Cary Coglianese

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

How can the nondelegation doctrine still exist when the Supreme Court over decades has approved so many pieces of legislation that contain unintelligible principles? The answer to this puzzle emerges from recognition that the intelligibility of any principle dictating the basis for lawmaking is but one characteristic defining that authority. The Court has acknowledged five other characteristics that, taken together with the principle articulating the basis for executive decision-making, constitute the full dimensionality of any grant of lawmaking authority and hold the key to a more coherent rendering of the Court’s application of the nondelegation doctrine. When understood in ...


After The Crime: Rewarding Offenders’ Positive Post-Offense Conduct, Paul H. Robinson, Muhammad Sarahne Aug 2019

After The Crime: Rewarding Offenders’ Positive Post-Offense Conduct, Paul H. Robinson, Muhammad Sarahne

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

While an offender’s conduct before and during the crime is the traditional focus of criminal law and sentencing rules, an examination of post-offense conduct can also be important in promoting criminal justice goals. After the crime, different offenders make different choices and have different experiences, and those differences can suggest appropriately different treatment by judges, correctional officials, probation and parole supervisors, and other decision-makers in the criminal justice system.

Positive post-offense conduct ought to be acknowledged and rewarded, not only to encourage it but also as a matter of fair and just treatment. This essay describes four kinds of ...


Our Administered Constitution: Administrative Constitutionalism From The Founding To The Present, Sophia Z. Lee Jun 2019

Our Administered Constitution: Administrative Constitutionalism From The Founding To The Present, Sophia Z. Lee

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This article argues that administrative agencies have been primary interpreters and implementers of the federal Constitution throughout the history of the United States, although the scale and scope of this "administrative constitutionalism" has changed significantly over time as the balance of opportunities and constraints has shifted. Courts have nonetheless cast an increasingly long shadow over the administered Constitution. In part, this is because of the well-known expansion of judicial review in the 20th century. But the shift has as much to do with changes in the legal profession, legal theory, and lawyers’ roles in agency administration. The result is that ...


Apple V. Pepper: Rationalizing Antitrust’S Indirect Purchaser Rule, Herbert J. Hovenkamp May 2019

Apple V. Pepper: Rationalizing Antitrust’S Indirect Purchaser Rule, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In Apple v. Pepper the Supreme Court held that consumers who allegedly paid too much for apps sold on Apple’s iStore could sue Apple for antitrust damages because they were “direct purchasers.” The decision reflects some bizarre complexities that have resulted from the Supreme Court’s 1977 decision in Illinois Brick, which held that only direct purchasers could sue for overcharge injuries under the federal antitrust laws. The indirect purchaser rule was problematic from the beginning. First, it was plainly inconsistent with the antitrust damages statute, which gives an action to “any person who shall be injured in his ...


Autonomy, Gideon Parchomovsky, Alex Stein May 2019

Autonomy, Gideon Parchomovsky, Alex Stein

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Personal autonomy is a constitutive element of all rights. It confers upon a rightholder the power to decide whether, and under what circumstances, to exercise her right. Every right infringement thus invariably involves a violation of its holder’s autonomy. The autonomy violation consists of the deprivation of a rightholder of a choice that was rightfully hers — the choice as to how to go about her life.

Harms resulting from the right’s infringement and from the autonomy violation are often readily distinguishable, as is the case when someone uses the property of a rightholder without securing her permission or ...


Certainty Versus Flexibility In The Conflict Of Laws, Kermit Roosevelt Iii Jan 2019

Certainty Versus Flexibility In The Conflict Of Laws, Kermit Roosevelt Iii

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Traditional choice of law theory conceives of certainty and flexibility as opposed values: increase one, and you inevitably decrease the other. This article challenges the received wisdom by reconceptualizing the distinction. Rather than caring about certainty or flexibility for their own sake, it suggests, we care about them because each makes it easier to promote a certain cluster of values. And while there may be a necessary tradeoff between certainty and flexibility, there is no necessary tradeoff between the clusters of values. It is possible to improve a choice of law system with regard to both of them. The article ...


The Genius Of Common Law Intellectual Property, Shyamkrishna Balganesh Jan 2019

The Genius Of Common Law Intellectual Property, Shyamkrishna Balganesh

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Among Richard Epstein’s influential contributions to legal scholarship over the years is his writing on common law intellectual property. In it, we see Epstein’s attempt to meld the innate logic of the common law’s conceptual structure with the realities of the modern information economy. Common law intellectual property refers to different judge made causes of action that create forms of exclusive rights and privileges in intangibles, interferences with which are then rendered enforceable through private liability. In this Essay, I examine Epstein’s writing on two such doctrines: “hot news misappropriation” and “cyber-trespass”, which embraces several important ...


Measuring Norms And Normative Contestation: The Case Of International Criminal Law, Beth A. Simmons, Hyeran Jo Jan 2019

Measuring Norms And Normative Contestation: The Case Of International Criminal Law, Beth A. Simmons, Hyeran Jo

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

One way to tell if an international norm is robust is to assess the breadth of its support from a wide variety of important actors. We argue that to assess norm robustness, we should look at the general beliefs, rhetorical support, and actions of both primary and secondary norm addressees (states and non-state actors) at various levels: international, regional, domestic and local. By way of example, we evaluate the robustness of international criminal law (ICL) norms by looking at the rhetoric and actions of a diverse set of international actors, including not only states and intergovernmental organizations but also ordinary ...


Hushing Contracts, David A. Hoffman, Eric Lampmann Jan 2019

Hushing Contracts, David A. Hoffman, Eric Lampmann

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The last few years have brought a renewed appreciation of the costs of nondisclosure agreements that suppress information about sexual wrongdoing. Recently passed bills in a number of states, including New York and California, has attempted to deal with such hush contracts. But such legislation is often incomplete, and many courts and commentators continue to ask if victims of harassment can sign enforceable settlements that conceal serious, potentially metastasizing, social harms. In this Article, we argue that employing the public policy doctrine, courts ought to generally refuse to enforce hush agreements, especially those created by organizations. We restate public policy ...


Reconsidering Judicial Independence: Forty-Five Years In The Trenches And In The Tower, Stephen B. Burbank Jan 2019

Reconsidering Judicial Independence: Forty-Five Years In The Trenches And In The Tower, Stephen B. Burbank

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Trusting in the integrity of our institutions when they are not under stress, we focus attention on them both when they are under stress or when we need them to protect us against other institutions. In the case of the federal judiciary, the two conditions often coincide. In this essay, I use personal experience to provide practical context for some of the important lessons about judicial independence to be learned from the periods of stress for the federal judiciary I have observed as a lawyer and concerned citizen, and to provide theoretical context for lessons I have deemed significant as ...


Corporate Oversight And Disobedience, Elizabeth Pollman Jan 2019

Corporate Oversight And Disobedience, Elizabeth Pollman

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Over a decade has passed since landmark Delaware corporate law decisions on oversight responsibility, and only a small handful of cases have survived a motion to dismiss. Scholars have puzzled over what it means to have the potential for corporate accountability lodged within the duty of good faith, but almost never brought to fruition in terms of trial liability.

This article explores the public-regarding purpose of the obedience and oversight duties in corporate law and provides a descriptive account of how they are applied in practice. The Article argues that the fidelity to external law required by the duty of ...


Class Actions, Statutes Of Limitations And Repose, And Federal Common Law, Stephen B. Burbank, Tobias Barrington Wolff Dec 2018

Class Actions, Statutes Of Limitations And Repose, And Federal Common Law, Stephen B. Burbank, Tobias Barrington Wolff

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

After more than three decades during which it gave the issue scant attention, the Supreme Court has again made the American Pipe doctrine an active part of its docket. American Pipe addresses the tolling of statutes of limitations in federal class action litigation. When plaintiffs file a putative class action in federal court and class certification is denied, absent members of the putative class may wish to pursue their claims in some kind of further proceeding. If the statute of limitations would otherwise have expired while the class certification issue was being resolved, these claimants may need the benefit of ...


A General Mitigation For Disturbance-Driven Crimes?: Psychic State, Personal Choice, And Normative Inquiries, Paul H. Robinson Oct 2018

A General Mitigation For Disturbance-Driven Crimes?: Psychic State, Personal Choice, And Normative Inquiries, Paul H. Robinson

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

It is argued here that the narrow provoked “heat of passion” mitigation available under current law ought to be significantly expanded to include not just murder but all felonies and not just “heat of passion” but potentially all mental or emotional disturbances, whenever the offender’s situation and capacities meaningfully reduce the offender’s blameworthiness for the violation. In determining eligibility for mitigation, the jury should take into account (a) the extent to which the offender was acting under the influence of mental or emotional disturbance (the psychic state inquiry), (b) given the offender’s situation and capacities, the extent ...


Rights And Retrenchment In The Trump Era, Stephen B. Burbank, Sean Farhang Oct 2018

Rights And Retrenchment In The Trump Era, Stephen B. Burbank, Sean Farhang

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Our aim in this essay is to leverage archival research, data and theoretical perspectives presented in our book, Rights and Retrenchment: The Counterrevolution against Federal Litigation, as a means to illuminate the prospects for retrenchment in the current political landscape. We follow the scheme of the book by separately considering the prospects for federal litigation retrenchment in three lawmaking sites: Congress, federal court rulemaking under the Rules Enabling Act, and the Supreme Court. Although pertinent data on current retrenchment initiatives are limited, our historical data and comparative institutional perspectives should afford a basis for informed prediction. Of course, little in ...


Regulation And The Marginalist Revolution, Herbert J. Hovenkamp May 2018

Regulation And The Marginalist Revolution, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The marginalist revolution in economics became the foundation for the modern regulatory State with its “mixed” economy. Marginalism, whose development defines the boundary between classical political economy and neoclassical economics, completely overturned economists’ theory of value. It developed in the late nineteenth century in England, the Continent and the United States. For the classical political economists, value was a function of past averages. One good example is the wage-fund theory, which saw the optimal rate of wages as a function of the firm’s ability to save from previous profits. Another is the theory of corporate finance, which assessed a ...


The Shifting Tides Of Merger Litigation, Matthew D. Cain, Jill E. Fisch, Steven Davidoff Solomon, Randall S. Thomas Jan 2018

The Shifting Tides Of Merger Litigation, Matthew D. Cain, Jill E. Fisch, Steven Davidoff Solomon, Randall S. Thomas

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In 2015, Delaware made several important changes to its laws concerning merger litigation. These changes, which were made in response to a perception that levels of merger litigation were too high and that a substantial proportion of merger cases were not providing value, raised the bar, making it more difficult for plaintiffs to win a lawsuit challenging a merger and more difficult for plaintiffs’ counsel to collect a fee award.

We study what has happened in the courts in response to these changes. We find that the initial effect of the changes has been to decrease the volume of merger ...


Could Official Climate Denial Revive The Common Law As A Regulatory Backstop?, Mark P. Nevitt, Robert Percival Jan 2018

Could Official Climate Denial Revive The Common Law As A Regulatory Backstop?, Mark P. Nevitt, Robert Percival

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The Trump Administration is rapidly turning the clock back on climate policy and environmental regulation. Despite overwhelming, peer-reviewed scientific evidence, administration officials eager to promote greater use of fossil fuels are disregarding climate science. This Article argues that this massive and historic deregulation may spawn yet another wave of legal innovation as litigants, including states and their political subdivisions, return to the common law to protect the health of the planet. Prior to the emergence of the major federal environmental laws in the 1970s, the common law of nuisance gave rise to the earliest environmental decisions in U.S. history ...


Our Principled Constitution, Mitchell N. Berman Jan 2018

Our Principled Constitution, Mitchell N. Berman

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Suppose that one of us contends, and the other denies, that transgender persons have constitutional rights to be treated in accord with their gender identity. It appears that we are disagreeing about “what the law is.” And, most probably, we disagree about what the law is on this matter because we disagree about what generally makes it the case that our constitutional law is this rather than that.

Constitutional theory should provide guidance. It should endeavor to explain what gives our constitutional rules the contents that they have, or what makes true constitutional propositions true. Call any such account a ...


Reasonable Patent Exhaustion, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Jan 2018

Reasonable Patent Exhaustion, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

A lengthy tug of war between the Supreme Court and the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals may have ended when the Supreme Court held that the sale of a patented article exhausts the patentee seller’s rights to enforce restrictions on that article through patent infringement suits. Further, reversing the Federal Circuit, the parties cannot bargain around this rule through the seller’s specification of conditions stated at the time of sale, no matter how clear. No inquiry need be made into the patentee’s market power, anticompetitive effects, or other types of harms, whether enforcement of the condition is ...


Horizontal Shareholding And Antitrust Policy, Fiona M. Scott Morton, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Jan 2018

Horizontal Shareholding And Antitrust Policy, Fiona M. Scott Morton, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

“Horizontal shareholding” occurs when one or more equity funds own shares of competitors operating in a concentrated product market. For example, the four largest mutual fund companies might be large shareholders of all the major United States air carriers. A growing body of empirical literature concludes that under these conditions market output in the product market is lower and prices higher than they would otherwise be.

Here we consider how the antitrust laws might be applied to this practice, identifying the issues that courts are likely to encounter and attempting to anticipate litigation problems. We assume that neither the mutual ...


The Subversions And Perversions Of Shadow Vigilantism, Paul H. Robinson, Sarah M. Robinson Jan 2018

The Subversions And Perversions Of Shadow Vigilantism, Paul H. Robinson, Sarah M. Robinson

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This excerpt from the recently published Shadow Vigilantes book argues that, while vigilantism, even moral vigilantism, can be dangerous to a society, the real danger is not of hordes of citizens, frustrated by the system’s doctrines of disillusionment, rising up to take the law into their own hands. Frustration can spark a vigilante impulse, but such classic aggressive vigilantism is not the typical response. More common is the expression of disillusionment in less brazen ways by a more surreptitious undermining and distortion of the operation of the criminal justice system.

Shadow vigilantes, as they might be called, can affect ...