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Full-Text Articles in Law

Fiduciary Discretion, D. Gordon Smith, Jordan C. Lee Jun 2014

Fiduciary Discretion, D. Gordon Smith, Jordan C. Lee

Faculty Scholarship

Discretion is an important feature of all contractual relationships. In this Article, we rely on incomplete contract theory to motivate our study of discretion, with particular attention to fiduciary relationships. We make two contributions to the substantial literature on fiduciary law. First, we describe the role of fiduciary law as “boundary enforcement,” and we urge courts to honor the appropriate exercise of discretion by fiduciaries, even when the beneficiary or the judge might perceive a preferable action after the fact. Second, we answer the question, how should a court define the boundaries of fiduciary discretion? We observe that courts often ...


Debt-Buyer Lawsuits And Inaccurate Data, Peter A. Holland Apr 2014

Debt-Buyer Lawsuits And Inaccurate Data, Peter A. Holland

Faculty Scholarship

Pursuant to secret purchase and sale agreements (also known as forward flow agreements), the accounts that banks sell to debt buyers are often sold “as is,” with explicit and emphatic disclaimers that the debts may not be owed, the amounts claimed may not be accurate, and documentation may be missing. Despite their full knowledge that the accuracy and completeness of the data has been specifically disclaimed by the bank, when they sue consumers, debt buyers tell courts that the information obtained from the bank is inherently reliable and accurate. In order to avoid a fraud on the courts, the contents ...


The Restatement (Second) Of Contracts Reasonably Certain Terms Requirement: A Model Of Neoclassical Contract Law And A Model Of Confusion And Inconsistency, Daniel P. O'Gorman Jan 2014

The Restatement (Second) Of Contracts Reasonably Certain Terms Requirement: A Model Of Neoclassical Contract Law And A Model Of Confusion And Inconsistency, Daniel P. O'Gorman

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Boilerplate And Consent, Nancy Kim Jan 2014

Boilerplate And Consent, Nancy Kim

Faculty Scholarship

In Margaret Jane Radin's book, Boilerplate: The Fine Print, Vanishing Rights, and the Rule of Law, Radin argues that boilerplate is a social problem leading to normative and democratic degradation of important rights. In his review of Radin’s book, Omri Ben-Shahar outlines two approaches to regulation by boilerplate. He labels the first as “autonomism,” which asks “how such one-sided dictation of terms by firms fits within a liberal account of good social order, of democratic control and participation, and of individual autonomy.” Ben-Shahar views Radin as representative of the autonomists. The second way of viewing regulation-by-boilerplate is “to ...


Intentions, Compliance, And Fiduciary Obligations, Ethan Leib, Stephen Galoob Jan 2014

Intentions, Compliance, And Fiduciary Obligations, Ethan Leib, Stephen Galoob

Faculty Scholarship

This essay investigates the structure of fiduciary obligations, specifically the obligation of loyalty. Fiduciary obligations differ from promissory obligations with respect to the possibility of “accidental compliance.” Promissory obligations can be satis- fied through behavior that conforms to a promise, even if that behavior is done for inappropriate reasons. By contrast, fiduciary loyalty necessarily has an intentional dimension, one that prevents satisfaction through accidental compliance. The intentional dimension of fiduciary loyalty is best described by what we call the “shaping” account. This account both explains the conscientiousness that loyalty demands and improves on other accounts of the intentional dimension of ...


How Contract Boilerplate Can Bite, Alex Ritchie Jan 2014

How Contract Boilerplate Can Bite, Alex Ritchie

Faculty Scholarship

Lawyers and academics often use the term “boilerplate” to refer to standardized non-negotiable contracts that prey upon consumers. But for more sophisticated contracts drafted and negotiated by transactional lawyers, the term refers to those common, usually short, and seemingly innocuous provisions at the end of the contract, often under a heading entitled “general” or “miscellaneous.” While these provisions seem harmless enough, for those transactional lawyers unfortunate enough to see 50 or 100 page contracts the subject of litigation, experience shows that crafty litigators with ample time and will to research and argue the meaning of each word in the contract ...


Contract Law And The Hand Formula, Daniel P. O'Gorman Jan 2014

Contract Law And The Hand Formula, Daniel P. O'Gorman

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


The Fiduciary Character Of Agency And The Interpretation Of Instructions, Deborah A. Demott Jan 2014

The Fiduciary Character Of Agency And The Interpretation Of Instructions, Deborah A. Demott

Faculty Scholarship

This chapter in a forthcoming book justifies the conventional characterization of common-law agency as a fiduciary relationship. An agent serves as the principal’s representative in dealings with third parties and facts about the world, situating the agent as an extension of the principal for legally-salient purposes. A principal’s power to furnish instructions to the agent is the fundamental mechanism through which the principal exercises control over the agent, a requisite for an agency relationship. The agent’s fiduciary duty to the principal provides a benchmark for the agent’s interpretation of those instructions. The chapter draws on philosophical ...


Lawyers: Gatekeepers Of The Sovereign Debt Market?, Michael Bradley, Irving De Lira Salvatierra, Mitu Gulati Jan 2014

Lawyers: Gatekeepers Of The Sovereign Debt Market?, Michael Bradley, Irving De Lira Salvatierra, Mitu Gulati

Faculty Scholarship

The claim that lawyers act as gatekeepers or certifiers in financial transactions is widely discussed in the legal literature. There has, however, been little empirical examination of the claim. We test the hypothesis that law firms have replaced investment banks as the gatekeepers of the market for sovereign debt. Our results suggest that hiring outside law firms sends a negative signal to the market regarding the pending issuance; a finding that is inconsistent with the thesis that outside law firms primarily play a certification role in the sovereign debt market.


Non-State Law In The Hague Principles On Choice Of Law In International Contracts, Ralf Michaels Jan 2014

Non-State Law In The Hague Principles On Choice Of Law In International Contracts, Ralf Michaels

Faculty Scholarship

Article 3 of the Hague Principles on Choice of Law in International Contracts is the first quasi-legislative text on choice of law to allow explicitly for the choice of non-state law also before state courts. This paper, forthcoming in a Festschrift, puts the provision into a broader context, discusses their drafting history and particular issues involved in their interpretation. It also provides a critical evaluation. Article 3 does not respond to an existing need, and its formulation, the fruit of a compromise between supporters and opponents of choosing non-state law, makes the provision unsuccessful for state courts and arbitrators alike.


Santa Anna And His Black Eagle: The Origins Of Pari Passu?, Benjamin Chabot, Mitu Gulati Jan 2014

Santa Anna And His Black Eagle: The Origins Of Pari Passu?, Benjamin Chabot, Mitu Gulati

Faculty Scholarship

One of the most debated issues in international finance is the meaning of the pari passu clause in sovereign bonds. The clause is ubiquitous; it is in almost every single foreign-law sovereign bond out there. Yet, almost no one seems to agree on its meaning. One way to cut the Gordian knot is to track down the origins of the clause. Modern lawyers may have simply copied the clause from the documents of their predecessors without understanding its meaning. But surely the people who first drafted the clause knew what it meant. Four enterprising students at Duke Law School may ...


The Unidroit Principles As Global Background Law, Ralf Michaels Jan 2014

The Unidroit Principles As Global Background Law, Ralf Michaels

Faculty Scholarship

After twenty years of existence, it becomes apparent that the role actually played by the UNIDROIT Principles of International Commercial Contracts (PICC) is quite different from the one originally intended. This article first presents nine surprising findings concerning the actual use of the PICC, as it can be assessed on the basis of published opinions, legislation, and scholarship. It then uses these findings to suggest that the PICC should not be viewed as a code or even a non-state law. Instead, their nature is that of a Restatement of global general contract law, and their function is that of a ...


A People’S History Of Collective Action Clauses, Mark C. Weidemaier, Mitu Gulati Jan 2014

A People’S History Of Collective Action Clauses, Mark C. Weidemaier, Mitu Gulati

Faculty Scholarship

For two decades, collective action clauses (CACs) have been part of the official-sector response to sovereign debt crisis, justified by claims that these clauses can help prevent bailouts and shift the burden of restructuring onto the private sector. Reform efforts in the 1990s and 2000s focused on CACs. So do efforts in the Eurozone today. CACs have even been suggested as the cure for the US municipal bond market. But bonds without CACs are still issued in major markets, so reformers feel obliged to explain why they know better. Over time, a narrative has emerged to justify pro-CAC reforms. It ...


Elhauge On Tying: Vindicated By History, Barak D. Richman, Steven W. Usselman Jan 2014

Elhauge On Tying: Vindicated By History, Barak D. Richman, Steven W. Usselman

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Text And Context: Contract Interpretation As Contract Design, Ronald J. Gilson, Charles F. Sabel, Robert E. Scott Jan 2014

Text And Context: Contract Interpretation As Contract Design, Ronald J. Gilson, Charles F. Sabel, Robert E. Scott

Faculty Scholarship

Contract interpretation remains the most important source of commercial litigation and the most contentious area of contemporary contract doctrine and scholarship. Two polar positions have competed for dominance in contract interpretation. In a textualist regime, generalist courts cannot consider context; in a contextualist regime, they must. Underlying this dispute are contrary assumptions about the prototypical contract each interpretive style addresses. For modern textualists, contracts are bespoke, between legally sophisticated parties who embed as much or as little of the contractual context as they wish in an integrated writing and prefer to protect their choices against judicial interference by an interpretive ...


Contract Theory – Who Needs It?, Avery W. Katz Jan 2014

Contract Theory – Who Needs It?, Avery W. Katz

Faculty Scholarship

Philosophy is perfectly right in saying that life must be understood backward. But then one forgets the other clause – that it must be lived forward.
Soren Kierkegaard

Both law students and law teachers have traditionally been drawn to conceptual projects that attempt to systematize the field of contract law. The reasons for this are easy to see: the field is doctrinally complex, few beginning students have any substantial experience with the kinds of fact patterns that arise in the cases, and the law is a locus of contestation over fundamental issues of economic liberalism that go to the heart of ...


Protecting Reliance, Victor P. Goldberg Jan 2014

Protecting Reliance, Victor P. Goldberg

Faculty Scholarship

Reliance plays a central role in contract law and scholarship. One party relies on the other's promised performance, its statements, or its anticipated entry into a formal agreement. Saying that reliance is important, however, says nothing about what we should do about it. The focus of this Essay is on the many ways that parties choose to protect reliance. The relationship between what parties do and what contract doctrine cares about is tenuous at best. Contract performance takes place over time, and the nature of the parties 'future obligations can be deferred to take into account changing circumstances. Reliance ...


From Contract To Status: Collaboration And The Evolution Of Novel Family Relationships, Elizabeth S. Scott, Robert E. Scott Jan 2014

From Contract To Status: Collaboration And The Evolution Of Novel Family Relationships, Elizabeth S. Scott, Robert E. Scott

Faculty Scholarship

The past decade has witnessed a dramatic change in public attitudes and legal status for same-sex couples who wish to marry. These events demonstrate that the legal conception of the family is no longer limited to traditional marriage. They also raise the possibility that other relationships – cohabiting couples and their children, voluntary kin groups, multigenerational groups and polygamists – might gain legal recognition as families. This Article probes the challenges faced by aspiring families and the means by which they could attain their goal. It builds on the premise that the state remains committed to social welfare criteria for granting family ...


Situational Duress And The Aberrance Of Electronic Contracts, Nancy Kim Jan 2014

Situational Duress And The Aberrance Of Electronic Contracts, Nancy Kim

Faculty Scholarship

This article explains how the aberrant nature of electronic contracts has unique effects. Companies take advantage of these unique effects and use electronic contracts in a coercive manner. This article proposes the new defense of “situational duress” to address the exploitative use of electronic contracts in certain situations.

Part I explains why electronic contracts are aberrant and explains how the developing law in this area deviates from traditional contract doctrine. This section also discusses how the electronic form affects consumer behavior and understanding of contract terms. Part II provides background to the traditional doctrine of duress and introduces the concept ...


Two Alternate Visions Of Contract Law In 2025, Nancy Kim Jan 2014

Two Alternate Visions Of Contract Law In 2025, Nancy Kim

Faculty Scholarship

Part I of this essay examines how businesses have shaped the evolution of contract’s form from the past to the present and ex-plains how courts have responded by reshaping contract law.1 Part II of this essay anticipates changes in the business landscape and explains how these changes might create new challenges for contract law. Part III predicts two alternative visions for contract law in 2025. The first is as a diminished body of law, made nearly irrelevant by other laws and preempted by private rules administered by non-judicial entities. The second vision is that of a robust contract ...