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The Case Against Equity In American Contract Law, Robert E. Scott, Jody S. Kraus Jan 2019

The Case Against Equity In American Contract Law, Robert E. Scott, Jody S. Kraus

Faculty Scholarship

The American common law of contracts appears to direct courts to decide contract disputes by considering two opposing points of view: the ex ante perspective of the parties’ intent at the time of formation, and the ex post perspective of justice and fairness to the parties at the time of adjudication. Despite the black letter authority for both perspectives, the ex post perspective cannot withstand scrutiny. Contract doctrines taking the ex post perspective – such as the penalty, just compensation and forfeiture doctrines – were created by equity in the early common law to police against abuses of the then prevalent penal ...


The Core Corporate Governance Puzzle: Contextualizing The Link To Performance, Merritt B. Fox, Ronald J. Gilson, Darius Palia Jan 2019

The Core Corporate Governance Puzzle: Contextualizing The Link To Performance, Merritt B. Fox, Ronald J. Gilson, Darius Palia

Faculty Scholarship

There is a puzzle at the core of corporate governance theory. Prior scholarship reports a strong relationship between firms best at creating shareholder value and those rated highly by the established corporate governance indices. Little work explores why, however. We hypothesize that the link between governance and performance depends centrally on context. We illustrate the importance of context by exploring circumstances when a firm's governance structure can operate as a signal of the quality of its management. The idea is that better managers are on average more likely to choose a highly rated governance structure than are bad managers ...


Revising Boilerplate: A Comparison Of Private And Public Company Transactions, Stephen J. Choi, Robert E. Scott, G. Mitu Gulati Jan 2019

Revising Boilerplate: A Comparison Of Private And Public Company Transactions, Stephen J. Choi, Robert E. Scott, G. Mitu Gulati

Faculty Scholarship

The phenomenon of “sticky boilerplate” causing inefficient contract terms to persist exists across a variety of commercial contract types. One explanation for this failure to revise suboptimal terms is that the key agents on these transactions, including attorneys and investment bankers, are short sighted; their incentives are to get the deal done rather than ensure that they are using the best terms possible for their clients. Moreover, these agents face a first mover disadvantage that deters unilateral revisions to inefficient terms. If agency costs are indeed driving the stickiness phenomenon, we expect that the pace of revision will vary across ...


Judges And Judgment: In Praise Of Instigators, Kathryn Judge Jan 2019

Judges And Judgment: In Praise Of Instigators, Kathryn Judge

Faculty Scholarship

This essay celebrates judicial instigators, and Judge Richard Posner as instigator. It embraces a view of the judicial system as a system, one that can best achieve its myriad aims only if there is some variety in its constituent parts. Having some judges, some of the time, willing to ask hard questions about what the law is and should be is critical to ensuring the law achieves its intended aims. This essay illustrates this point by weaving together a single case about mutual fund fees with personal observations accumulated over a year as a clerk to Judge Posner and Posner ...


The Data Standardization Challenge, Kathryn Judge, Richard Berner Jan 2019

The Data Standardization Challenge, Kathryn Judge, Richard Berner

Faculty Scholarship

Data standardization offers significant benefits for industry and regulators alike, suggesting that it should be easy. In practice, however, the process has been difficult and slow moving. Moving from an abstract incentive-based analysis to one focused on institutional detail reveals myriad frictions favoring the status quo despite foregone gains. This paper explores the benefits of and challenges confronting standardization, why it should be a top regulatory priority, and how to overcome some of the obstacles to implementation.

The paper also uses data standardization as a lens into the challenges that impede optimal financial regulation. Alongside capture and other common explanations ...


Being True To Trulia: Do Disclosure-Only Settlements In Merger Objection Lawsuits Harm Shareholders?, Eric L. Talley, Giuseppe Dari‐Mattiacci Jan 2019

Being True To Trulia: Do Disclosure-Only Settlements In Merger Objection Lawsuits Harm Shareholders?, Eric L. Talley, Giuseppe Dari‐Mattiacci

Faculty Scholarship

A significant debate within mergers and acquisitions law concerns the explosive popularity of the “merger objection lawsuit” (MOL), a shareholder action seeking to enjoin an announced deal on fiduciary duty grounds. MOLs blossomed during the Financial Crisis, becoming popularly associated with “shareholder shakedowns,” whereby quick-triggered plaintiff attorneys would file against – and then rapidly settle with – acquirers, typically on non-monetary terms containing modest added disclosures in exchange for blanket class releases and attorney fee awards. This practice unleashed a torrent of criticism from lawyers, commentators, academics, and (ultimately) judges, culminating in a doctrinal shift in Delaware law in the January 2016 ...


The New Mechanisms Of Market Inefficiency, Kathryn Judge Jan 2019

The New Mechanisms Of Market Inefficiency, Kathryn Judge

Faculty Scholarship

Mechanisms of market inefficiency are some of the most important and least understood institutions in financial markets today. A growing body of empirical work reveals a strong and persistent demand for “safe assets,” financial instruments that are sufficiently low risk and opaque that holders readily accept them at face value. The production of such assets, and the willingness of holders to treat them as information insensitive, depends on the existence of mechanisms that promote faith in the value of the underlying assets while simultaneously discouraging information production specific to the value of those assets. Such mechanisms include private arrangements, like ...


Deterrence Theory: Key Findings And Challenges, Alex Raskolnikov Jan 2019

Deterrence Theory: Key Findings And Challenges, Alex Raskolnikov

Faculty Scholarship

This Chapter prepared for the Cambridge Handbook of Compliance reviews the key findings of the optimal deterrence theory and discusses the remaining challenges. Some of these challenges reflect current modeling choices and limitations. These include the treatment of the offender’s gains in the social welfare function; the design of the damages multiplier in a realistic, multi-period framework; the effects of different types of uncertainty on behavior; and the study of optional, imperfectly-enforced, threshold-based regimes – that is, regimes that reflect the most common real-world regulatory setting. Other challenges arise because several key regulatory features and enforcement outcomes are inconsistent with ...


Global Settlements: Promise And Peril, John C. Coffee Jr. Jan 2019

Global Settlements: Promise And Peril, John C. Coffee Jr.

Faculty Scholarship

In 2010, Morrison v. National Australia Bank Ltd. destabilized the world of securities litigation by denying those who purchased their securities outside the U.S. the ability to sue in the U.S. (as they had previously often done). Nature, however abhors a vacuum, and practitioners and other jurisdictions began to seek ways to regain access to U.S. courts. Several techniques have emerged: (1) expanding settlement classes so that they are broader than litigation classes and treating the location of the transaction as strictly a merits issue that defendants could waive; (2) adopting U.S. law as applicable to ...


Why Do Auditors Fail? What Might Work? What Won't?, John C. Coffee Jr. Jan 2019

Why Do Auditors Fail? What Might Work? What Won't?, John C. Coffee Jr.

Faculty Scholarship

Auditing failures and scandals have become commonplace. In response, reformers (including the Kingman Review in the U.K and a recent report of the U.K.’s Competition and Market Authority) have proposed a variety of remedies, including prophylactic bans on auditors providing consulting services to their clients in the belief that this will minimize the conflicts of interest that produce auditing failures. Although useful, such reforms are already in place to a considerable degree and may have reached the point of diminishing returns. Moreover, this strategy does not address the deeper problem that clients (or their managements) may not ...


Valuation Disputes In Corporate Bankruptcy, Kenneth M. Ayotte, Edward R. Morrison Jan 2018

Valuation Disputes In Corporate Bankruptcy, Kenneth M. Ayotte, Edward R. Morrison

Faculty Scholarship

Prior scholarship points to disagreements about valuation and judicial valuation error as key drivers of Chapter 11 outcomes. Avoiding valuation disputes and valuation errors is also the underlying driver of most proposed reforms, from Baird’s auctions to Bebchuk’s options. In this paper, we undertake a detailed examination of bankruptcy court opinions involving valuation disputes. Our paper has two goals. The first is to understand how parties and their expert witnesses justify their opposing views to the judge, and how judges decide between them. The second is to provide practical guidance to judges in resolving valuation disputes. We document ...


Race And Bankruptcy, Edward R. Morrison, Belisa Pang, Antoine Uettwiller Jan 2018

Race And Bankruptcy, Edward R. Morrison, Belisa Pang, Antoine Uettwiller

Faculty Scholarship

Among consumers who file for bankruptcy, African Americans file Chapter 13 petitions at substantially higher rates than other racial groups. Some have hypothesized that the difference is attributable to discrimination by attorneys. We show that the difference may be attributable, in substantial part, to a selection effect: Among distressed consumers, African Americans have longer commutes to work, rely more heavily on cars for the commute, and therefore have greater demand for a bankruptcy process (Chapter 13) that allows them to retain their cars. We begin by showing that African Americans tend to have longer commuting times than other consumers and ...


How Investors Can (And Can't) Create Social Value, Paul Brest, Ronald J. Gilson, Mark A. Wolfson Jan 2018

How Investors Can (And Can't) Create Social Value, Paul Brest, Ronald J. Gilson, Mark A. Wolfson

Faculty Scholarship

Most investors have a single goal: to earn the highest financial return. These socially-neutral investors maximize their risk-adjusted returns and would not accept a lower financial return from an investment that also produced social benefits. An increasing number of socially-motivated investors have goals beyond maximizing profits. Some seek investments that are aligned with their social values (value alignment), for example by only owning stock in companies whose activities are consistent with the investor’s moral or social values. Others may also want their investment to make portfolio companies create more social value (social value creation). The thrust of this essay ...


Guarantor Of Last Resort, Kathryn Judge Jan 2018

Guarantor Of Last Resort, Kathryn Judge

Faculty Scholarship

The optimal response to a financial crisis entails addressing two, often conflicting, demands: stopping the panic and starting the clock. When short-term depositors flee, banks can be forced to sell assets at fire-sale prices, causing credit to contract and real economic activity to decline. To reduce these adverse spillover effects, policymakers routinely intervene to stop systemic runs. All too often, however, policymakers deploy stopgap measures that allow the underlying problems to fester. To promote long-term economic health, they must also ferret out the underlying problems and allocate the losses that cannot be avoided. A well-designed guarantor of last resort can ...


The Middleman’S Damages Revisited, Victor P. Goldberg Jan 2018

The Middleman’S Damages Revisited, Victor P. Goldberg

Faculty Scholarship

If A promises to sell to B who, in turn, promises to sell to C and either A or C breaches should B receive the gain it expected had both transactions occurred (lost profits) or the larger market/contract differential? Recent case law and commentary argues for the lost profit remedy. The argument is that there is a conflict between awarding market damages and making the nonbreacher whole. This paper argues that there is no conflict. If B were a broker, and C breached, then A would have an action against C for market damages. If B were party to ...


The Lost Volume Seller In English Law, Victor P. Goldberg Jan 2018

The Lost Volume Seller In English Law, Victor P. Goldberg

Faculty Scholarship

If a buyer breaches a contract but the market price has remained unchanged, English courts and the treatises have treated the seller as a “lost volume seller.” The seller, it is argued, could have had two sales, not one, so it lost the profit on the second sale. This paper recognizes that the buyer has an option to terminate and that the contract prices that option. The implicit option price of the lost volume remedy results in an absurd contract, setting the option price high when it should be low and vice versa. The default rule ought to be the ...


Foreword – The 2017 Tax Cuts: How Polarized Politics Produced Precarious Policy, Michael J. Graetz Jan 2018

Foreword – The 2017 Tax Cuts: How Polarized Politics Produced Precarious Policy, Michael J. Graetz

Faculty Scholarship

By lowering the corporate tax rate from 35% to 21%, the 2017 tax legislation brought the U.S. statutory rate into closer alignment with the rates applicable in other Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) nations, thereby decreasing the incentive for businesses to locate their deductions in the United States and their income abroad. Its overhaul of the U.S. international income tax rules simultaneously reduced preexisting incentives for U.S. multinationals to reinvest their foreign earnings abroad and put a floor on the benefits of shifting profits to low-tax jurisdictions. The 2017 legislation also added an unprecedented, troublesome ...


Why Autonomy Must Be Contract's Ultimate Value, Hanoch Dagan, Michael A. Heller Jan 2018

Why Autonomy Must Be Contract's Ultimate Value, Hanoch Dagan, Michael A. Heller

Faculty Scholarship

In “The Choice Theory of Contracts”, we develop a liberal theory of contract law. One core task of the book was to persuade advocates of economic analysis that they must situate their enterprise within our liberal framework. Autonomy, rightly understood, is the telos of contract.

Oren Bar-Gill pushes back strongly in “Choice Theory and the Economic Analysis of Contracts”. He offers a penetrating – perhaps devastating – critique of our approach. Bar-Gill notes the substantial convergence between choice theory and a welfarist view. If he is right, then what does choice theory add?

Our task in Part I of this Essay is ...


Remedies In The Ucc: Some Critical Thoughts, Victor P. Goldberg Jan 2018

Remedies In The Ucc: Some Critical Thoughts, Victor P. Goldberg

Faculty Scholarship

This paper for a conference presents a number of criticisms of the remedy provisions in Section 2 of the UCC. The paper focuses on three issues: (a) the relationship between market damages and cover; (b) damages for anticipatory repudiation; and (c) the lost volume seller.


Fiduciary Principles In Family Law, Elizabeth S. Scott, Ben Chen Jan 2018

Fiduciary Principles In Family Law, Elizabeth S. Scott, Ben Chen

Faculty Scholarship

Family members bear primary responsibility for the care of dependent and vulnerable individuals in our society, and therefore family relationships are infused with fiduciary obligation. Most importantly, the legal relationship between parents and their minor children is best understood as one that is regulated by fiduciary principles. Husbands and wives relate to one another as equals under contemporary law, but this relationship as well is subject to duties of care and loyalty when either spouse is in a condition of dependency. Finally, if an adult is severely intellectually disabled or becomes incapacitated and in need of a guardian, a family ...


Consequential Damages And Exclusion Clauses, Victor P. Goldberg Jan 2018

Consequential Damages And Exclusion Clauses, Victor P. Goldberg

Faculty Scholarship

Contracts often include language excluding compensation for consequential damages. However, the boundary between consequential and direct damages is a blurry one. Courts have used concepts like foreseeability, natural result of the breach, and collateral business in their attempts to define the boundary. Those categories, I argue, are not particularly helpful. I consider three classes of cases: wrongful termination, delay, and breach of warranty. This paper argues that lost profits, when referring to the change in value of the contract after a wrongful termination would be direct damages; the hard case involves terminated dealers who had been paid indirectly for retailing ...


The Origins Of A Capital Market Union In The United States, Jeffrey N. Gordon, Kathryn Judge Jan 2018

The Origins Of A Capital Market Union In The United States, Jeffrey N. Gordon, Kathryn Judge

Faculty Scholarship

EU policy-makers have focused on the creation of a “Capital Market Union” to advance the economic vitality of the EU in the aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis of 2007-09 and the Eurozone crisis of 2011-13. The hope is that EU-wide capital markets will help remedy the limitations in the EU’s pattern of bank-centered finance, which, despite the launch of the Banking Union, remains tied to Member States. Capital market development will provide alternative channels for finance, which will facilitate greater resiliency, more economic integration within the EU, and more choices for savers and firms. This chapter uses the ...


Economic Individualism And Preference Formation, Andrzej Rapaczynski Jan 2018

Economic Individualism And Preference Formation, Andrzej Rapaczynski

Faculty Scholarship

This note examines some issues involved in an attempt to go beyond the assumption, long-made by most economists, that people’s preferences are simply to be treated as “given” and that the principle of consumer sovereignty entails a refusal to consider some (or some people’s) revealed preferences as more authoritative than others. The most important break with that assumption has been the development of behavioral economics, which shows that people may not always know what they really want, and that economists have to develop a more critical approach, distinguishing people’s true preferences from those that are merely apparent ...


Regulation And Deregulation: The Baseline Challenge, Kathryn Judge Jan 2018

Regulation And Deregulation: The Baseline Challenge, Kathryn Judge

Faculty Scholarship

A core challenge for financial regulation is how best to address the inherent dynamism of finance. The financial system is engineered to change. Periods of stability, evolving macroeconomic conditions, and regulation are among the forces driving the constant shape shifting of finance. As a result, rules established at Time A often have a different substantive effect at Time B. And because efforts to reduce the cost of complying with regulatory burdens, commonly known as regulatory arbitrage, are among the forces driving this change, a static regulatory regime will tend to be inherently deregulatory.

Currently, the processes through which the law ...


Free Markets, State Involvement, And The Wto: Chinese State Owned Enterprises (Soes) In The Ring, Petros C. Mavroidis, Merit E. Jano Jan 2017

Free Markets, State Involvement, And The Wto: Chinese State Owned Enterprises (Soes) In The Ring, Petros C. Mavroidis, Merit E. Jano

Faculty Scholarship

The WTO has struggled with the treatment of nonmarket economies (NMEs). What was a nonissue in the original GATT (because of the homogeneity of participants) became quite an issue with the accession of formally centrally planned economies, which were not transformed to market economies, at least not in the eyes of the incumbents. Contracting this issue has proved to be so far always wanting, and leaving it to adjudicators has not produced good results either. With respect to Chinese SOEs this risks continuing to be an issue, since the contractually agreed deadline (2016) after which China should not be treated ...


A Note On Victoria Laundry, Victor P. Goldberg Jan 2017

A Note On Victoria Laundry, Victor P. Goldberg

Faculty Scholarship

In Victoria Laundry v Newman, Asquith LJ claimed that the headnote in Hadley v. Baxendale was “definitely misleading” noting that had it been accurate, the decision would have been decided the other way. In this note, I argue that the headnote was not misleading and, even if it were, his conclusion did not follow. His interpretation lowered the standard for finding liability for consequential damage. Given the facts, Victoria Laundry would have lost, even with his new standard. His solution was simple: alter the facts.


The Lost Volume Seller, R.I.P., Victor P. Goldberg Jan 2017

The Lost Volume Seller, R.I.P., Victor P. Goldberg

Faculty Scholarship

If the buyer breaches a sales contract, and if the seller can be characterized as a lost volume seller, courts and commentators have argued that the seller should be made whole by compensation for its lost profits. This paper argues that framing the problem in this way leads to an absurd result. The buyer has a termination option and the remedy should be the implicit option price. The lost profit remedy sets a price on that option, a price that bears no relation to reality. Examination of the case law suggests three conclusions: (a) the remedy often sets an excessive ...


From Territorial To Monetary Sovereignty, Katharina Pistor Jan 2017

From Territorial To Monetary Sovereignty, Katharina Pistor

Faculty Scholarship

State sovereignty is closely intertwined with, but not limited to, control over territory and people. It has long been recognized that control over monetary affairs is a critical part of genuine sovereignty. In this Article, I go a step further and argue that the relevance and importance of territorial versus monetary sovereignty has shifted in favor of the latter. This shift goes hand in hand with the rise of credit-based financial systems. Such systems depend, in the last instance, on backstopping by an entity with control over its own money supply and no binding survival constraints. Only states with monetary ...


Charitable Subsidies And Nonprofit Governance: Comparing The Charitable Deduction With The Exemption For Endowment Income, David M. Schizer Jan 2017

Charitable Subsidies And Nonprofit Governance: Comparing The Charitable Deduction With The Exemption For Endowment Income, David M. Schizer

Faculty Scholarship

Charitable subsidies are supposed to encourage positive externalities from charity. In principle, the government can pursue this goal by evaluating specific charitable initiatives and deciding how much each should receive. But this Article focuses on two income tax rules that leave the government very little discretion about which charities to fund: the deduction for donations to charity (“the deduction”) and the exemption of a charity’s investment income (“the exemption”). Under each rule, as long as charities satisfy very general criteria, federal dollars flow automatically. While both of these sibling subsidies delegate key decisions to private individuals, they create very ...


Blind Spot: The Attention Economy And The Law, Tim Wu Jan 2017

Blind Spot: The Attention Economy And The Law, Tim Wu

Faculty Scholarship

Human attention is a resource. An increasingly large and important sector of the economy, including firms such as Google, Facebook, Snap, along with parts of the traditional media, currently depend on attentional markets for their revenue. Their business model, however, present a challenge for laws premised on the presumption of cash markets. This paper introduces a novel economic and legal analysis of attention markets centered on the “attention broker,” the firms that attract and resell attention to advertisers. The analysis has important payouts for two areas: antitrust analysis, and in particular the oversight of mergers in high technology markets, as ...