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Full-Text Articles in Legal History

Unframing Legal Reasoning: A Cyclical Theory Of Legal Evolution, Larry A. Dimatteo Apr 2018

Unframing Legal Reasoning: A Cyclical Theory Of Legal Evolution, Larry A. Dimatteo

UF Law Faculty Publications

This article draws from legal history to inform a part of legal theory. The legal history examination focuses on two theories of legal development - Henry Sumner Maine's "progression thesis" and Nathan Isaacs's "cycle theory." After examining these two theories of legal development, the analysis shifts to how legal history informs theories of legal reasoning. There are numerous long-standing debates on how "law" should be interpreted. These debates are replicated in the question of how "contracts" should be interpreted. Contract law and contract interpretation will be the focus in examining how history informs legal theory, and more specifically, legal ...


Forum Selling, Daniel M. Klerman, Greg Reilly Jul 2016

Forum Selling, Daniel M. Klerman, Greg Reilly

University of Southern California Legal Studies Working Paper Series

Forum shopping is problematic because it may lead to forum selling. For diverse motives, including prestige, local benefits, or re-election, some judges want to hear more cases. When plaintiffs have wide choice of forum, such judges have incentives to make the law more pro-plaintiff, because plaintiffs choose the court. While only a few judges may be motivated to attract more cases, their actions can have large effects, because their courts will attract a disproportionate share of cases. For example, judges in the Eastern District of Texas have distorted the rules and practices relating to case assignment, joinder, discovery, transfer, and ...


Contract Law And Fundamental Legal Conceptions: An Application Of Hohfeldian Terminology To Contract Doctrine, Daniel P. O'Gorman Jan 2015

Contract Law And Fundamental Legal Conceptions: An Application Of Hohfeldian Terminology To Contract Doctrine, Daniel P. O'Gorman

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Contract Law And Fundamental Legal Conceptions: An Application Of Hohfeldian Terminology To Contract Doctrine, Daniel P. O'Gorman Jan 2015

Contract Law And Fundamental Legal Conceptions: An Application Of Hohfeldian Terminology To Contract Doctrine, Daniel P. O'Gorman

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


A Psychological Account Of Consent To Fine Print, Tess Wilkinson-Ryan May 2014

A Psychological Account Of Consent To Fine Print, Tess Wilkinson-Ryan

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The moral and social norms that bear on contracts of adhesion suggest a deep ambivalence. Contracts are perceived as serious moral obligations, and yet they must be taken lightly or everyday commerce would be impossible. Most people see consent to boilerplate as less meaningful than consent to negotiated terms, but they nonetheless would hold consumers strictly liable for both. This Essay aims to unpack the beliefs, preferences, assumptions, and biases that constitute our assessments of assent to boilerplate. Research suggests that misgivings about procedural defects in consumer contracting weigh heavily on judgments of contract formation, but play almost no role ...


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.


Sheppard V. Taylor, 5 Peters 675 (1831): Deception On The High Seas And The Quest For Lost Wages, Steven Zerhusen Jan 2014

Sheppard V. Taylor, 5 Peters 675 (1831): Deception On The High Seas And The Quest For Lost Wages, Steven Zerhusen

Legal History Publications

This Article follows the case of the ship Warren, which set sail in 1806 to take part in illicit trade with the Spanish colonies, unbeknownst to all on board except for the supercargo. After dealing with the suicide of the captain and capture in Concepcion Bay, Chile, the crew languished for years in Spanish prison. After trying for almost 20 years the proceeds of the ship were finally returned to the owners, and the crew filed petition. Not until 1831 was their libel upheld, and wages from their voyage 25 years earlier to be paid to the crew. This article ...


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 Rise And Fall Of Unconscionability As The 'Law Of The Poor', Anne Fleming Jan 2014

The Rise And Fall Of Unconscionability As The 'Law Of The Poor', Anne Fleming

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

What happened to unconscionability? Here’s one version of the story: The doctrine of unconscionability experienced a brief resurgence in the mid-1960s at the hands of naive, left-liberal, activist judges, who used it to rewrite private consumer contracts according to their own sense of justice. These folks meant well, no doubt, much like present-day consumer protection crusaders who seek to ensure the “fairness” of financial products and services. But courts’ refusal to enforce terms they deemed "unconscionable” served only to increase the cost of doing business with low-income households. Judges ended up hurting the very people they were trying to ...


Interpretation And Construction In Altering Rules, Gregory Klass Oct 2012

Interpretation And Construction In Altering Rules, Gregory Klass

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

This essay is a response to Ian Ayres's, "Regulating Opt-Out: An Economic Theory of Altering Rules," 121 Yale L.J. 2032 (2012). Ayres identifies an important question: How does the law decide when parties have opted-out of a contractual default? Unfortunately, his article tells only half of the story about such altering rules. Ayres cares about rules designed to instruct parties on how to get the terms that they want. By focusing on such rules he ignores altering rules designed instead to interpret the nonlegal meaning of the parties' acts or agreement. This limited vision is characteristic of economic ...


Contract And Dispossession, Deborah W. Post Jul 2012

Contract And Dispossession, Deborah W. Post

Scholarly Works

This Essay, part of a collection of essays on the same theme, argues that contract law has become an instrument of oppression and dispossession rather than liberation. Having offered a critique, the challenge then is to consider whether it is possible to restore the liberatory potential of contract. The symposium, Post-Marxism, Post-Racialism & Other Fables of the Dispossession, was an invitation to consider the contemporary relevance of Marxist theory.

There are two reference points in this cultural critique. One is the importance of social position in a jurisprudence that embraces objectivity; the uncritical and unreflective reliance on hegemonic social practices, codes and conventions in determining whether the parties to an agreement meant or intended it to be legally enforceable. Contract law recognizes and regulates status relationships. The resort by judges to hegemonic conceptions of status results in dispossession when ...


Promise Etc., Gregory Klass Jul 2012

Promise Etc., Gregory Klass

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

This Article examines the moral obligations contractual agreements generate. It distinguishes a narrow sense of "promise," central to autonomy theories, according to which to promise is to communicate an intention to undertake an obligation by the very communication of that intention. Not every agreement involves promises in this sense. Yet nonpromissory agreements too commonly generate moral obligations. And even when a party promises to perform, her promise need not be the only reason for her moral obligation to do so. Other possible reasons include reliance, an invitation to trust, implicit or explicit, principles of reciprocity, and the harm that nonperformance ...


Review Of Compact, Contract, Covenant: Aboriginal Treaty Making In Canada. By J.R. Miller., Sidney L. Harring Apr 2011

Review Of Compact, Contract, Covenant: Aboriginal Treaty Making In Canada. By J.R. Miller., Sidney L. Harring

Great Plains Research: A Journal of Natural and Social Sciences

In Canada, the term First Nations explicitly recognizes a nation-to-nation relationship between the Crown and the original inhabitants of North America that requires treaty making as the primary political and legal process for the taking of Indian lands and the incorporation of Indian nations into the multinational Canadian state. There are great political difficulties embodied in this process, including the continued impoverishment and marginalization of the First Nations, and the repeated failure of successive Canadian governments to carry out their responsibilities under these treaties, but the treaty process remains the required process. J.R. Miller, perhaps Canada's leading scholar ...


Langdell And The Invention Of Legal Doctrine, Catharine P. Wells May 2010

Langdell And The Invention Of Legal Doctrine, Catharine P. Wells

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

This paper addresses two related questions. The first relates to Langdell and his development of a doctrinal theory of contract law. The substance and method of Langdell’s work has not been well understood and this paper uses a variety of historical materials to remedy this problem. It begins with a review of contract law prior to Langdell. Contract law at this time was in a very primitive state. The available treatises were confusing and the cases themselves offered little guidance for predicting future case outcomes. The paper then proceeds to examine Langdell’s method by describing certain logic texts ...


Context As Power: Defining The Field Of Battle For Advantage In Contractual Interactions, Daniel D. Barnhizer Jan 2010

Context As Power: Defining The Field Of Battle For Advantage In Contractual Interactions, Daniel D. Barnhizer

Faculty Publications

No abstract provided.


The Productive Tension Between Official And Unofficial Stories Of Fault In Contract Law, Martha M. Ertman Jan 2010

The Productive Tension Between Official And Unofficial Stories Of Fault In Contract Law, Martha M. Ertman

Faculty Scholarship

Officially Contract law ignores fault. However, an unofficial story complements the official one, and explains why fault occasionally slips into contract law through doctrines such as willful breach. This chapter of FAULT IN AMERICAN CONTRACT LAW (Omri Ben-Shahar & Ariel Porot, eds, Cambridge U. Press, forthcoming 2010) argues that the official and unofficial stories operate in productive tension to both facilitate ex ante planning and, when necessary, look backward at reasons for breach to reach a just result. The occasional presence of fault in contract law, in this view, represents merely one more instance of the common doctrinal pattern of general ...


"The Sole Right ... Shall Return To The Authors": Anglo-American Authors' Reversion Rights From The Statute Of Anne To Contemporary U.S. Copyright, Lionel Bently, Jane C. Ginsburg Jan 2010

"The Sole Right ... Shall Return To The Authors": Anglo-American Authors' Reversion Rights From The Statute Of Anne To Contemporary U.S. Copyright, Lionel Bently, Jane C. Ginsburg

Faculty Scholarship

The rise in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries of a professional class of writers stimulated authors' demands for better remuneration from their writings. The increase in authors who sought to live from their work, rather than from patronage or personal fortune, likely provided at least one impulse for the author-protective provisions of the 1710 Statute of Anne. Under the regime of printing privileges that preceded the Statute of Anne, authors generally received from publisher-booksellers a one-time payment, made when the authors surrendered their manuscripts for publication. Authors whose works enjoyed particularly high demand might negotiate additional payments for new editions ...


Langdell And The Invention Of Legal Doctrine, Catharine Wells Nov 2009

Langdell And The Invention Of Legal Doctrine, Catharine Wells

University of Southern California Legal Studies Working Paper Series

This paper addresses two related questions.

The first relates to Langdell and his development of a doctrinal theory of contract law. The substance and method of Langdell’s work has not been well understood and this paper uses a variety of historical materials to remedy this problem. It begins with a review of contract law prior to Langdell. Contract law at this time was in a very primitive state. The available treatises were confusing and the cases themselves offered little guidance for predicting future case outcomes. The paper then proceeds to examine Langdell’s method by describing certain logic texts ...


The Law And The Host Of The Canterbury Tales, Frederick B. Jonassen Jan 2009

The Law And The Host Of The Canterbury Tales, Frederick B. Jonassen

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Coordinating In The Shadow Of The Law: Two Contextualized Tests Of The Focal Point Theory Of Legal Compliance, Richard H. Mcadams, Janice Nadler Jan 2008

Coordinating In The Shadow Of The Law: Two Contextualized Tests Of The Focal Point Theory Of Legal Compliance, Richard H. Mcadams, Janice Nadler

Faculty Working Papers

In situations where people have an incentive to coordinate their behavior, law can provide a framework for understanding and predicting what others are likely to do. According to the focal point theory of expressive law, the law's articulation of a behavior can sometimes create self-fulfilling expectations that it will occur. Existing theories of legal compliance emphasize the effect of sanctions or legitimacy; we argue that, in addition to sanctions and legitimacy, law can also influence compliance simply by making one outcome salient. We tested this claim in two experiments where sanctions and legitimacy were held constant. Experiment 1 demonstrated ...


The Enduring Legacy Of Wood V. Lucy, Lady Duff-Gordon, James J. Fishman Jan 2008

The Enduring Legacy Of Wood V. Lucy, Lady Duff-Gordon, James J. Fishman

Pace Law Faculty Publications

To mark the ninetieth anniversary of the decision, Pace University School of Law sponsored a Symposium, The Enduring Legacy of Wood v. Lucy, Lady Duff-Gordon, to reconsider the case and to appreciate the accomplishments of Lucy, Lady Duff-Gordon, who as Lucile, became one of the twentieth century's most innovative fashion designers. The Symposium brought together leading contracts scholars from as far away as Australia and England as well as experts on Lucile from the worlds of fashion, museums and fashion scholarship.

The Symposium examined legal issues raised by the decision through panels that focused upon: implication, interpretation and default ...


Mixed Contracts And The U.C.C.: A Proposal For A Uniform Penalty Default To Protect Consumers, Jesse M. Brush Jul 2007

Mixed Contracts And The U.C.C.: A Proposal For A Uniform Penalty Default To Protect Consumers, Jesse M. Brush

Student Scholarship Papers

Although Article 2 of the Uniform Commercial Code provides a standard set of rules for goods transactions, it is silent on the treatment of mixed goods and services contracts. Without guidance from the Code, courts have taken a number of different approaches to such contracts. These varied tests encourage opportunistic behavior: sellers withhold information about implied warranties during negotiations, and can later claim they do not apply. Uninformed buyers must either forfeit their warranty protection or resort to an expensive court determination of the Code’s applicability. This Article proposes a “penalty default” of applying the Code in consumer contracts ...


Williston As Conservative-Pragmatist, Mark L. Movsesian Jan 2007

Williston As Conservative-Pragmatist, Mark L. Movsesian

Faculty Publications

In her pathbreaking article, "Restatement and Reform: A New Perspective on the Origins of the American Law Institute, Professor N.E.H. Hull rejects the conventional wisdom about the conservative, even reactionary, character of the First Restatements. The truth, she argues, is more subtle. The Restatements, and the larger ALI project of which they were a part, reflect the "'progressive-pragmatic"' worldview of the law professors most responsible for their creation. These professors were reformers. They rejected the formalism of earlier generations; for them, law was not a conceptual system but a practical tool for promoting beneficial social goals. They tempered ...


Gambling, Commodity Speculation, And The 'Victorian Compromise', Joshua C. Tate Jan 2007

Gambling, Commodity Speculation, And The 'Victorian Compromise', Joshua C. Tate

Faculty Scholarship

This Essay examines two major strands of nineteenth-century jurisprudence related to gambling: Southern cases defining public and private space for the purpose of state gambling statutes, and Northern cases applying the intent to deliver test to speculative contracts. The Essay argues that both lines of cases reflect what Lawrence Friedman has termed the Victorian compromise: A strong official stance against immoral behavior is conjoined with de facto acceptance of many questionable practices, provided that they are conducted in a manner acceptable to the elite. The Essay concludes that nineteenth-century judges sought to preserve the semblance of a strict prohibition against ...


The Common Law As An Iterative Process: A Preliminary Inquiry, Lawrence A. Cunningham Jun 2006

The Common Law As An Iterative Process: A Preliminary Inquiry, Lawrence A. Cunningham

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

The common law often is casually referred to as an iterative process without much attention given to the detailed attributes such processes exhibit. This Article explores this characterization, uncovering how common law as an iterative process is one of endless repetition that is simultaneously stable and dynamic, self-similar but evolving, complex yet simple. These attributes constrain the systemic significance of judicial discretion and also confirm the wisdom of traditional approaches to studying and learning law. As an iterative system, common law exhibits what physicists call sensitive dependence on initial conditions. This generates a path dependency from which it may be ...


Formalism In American Contract Law: Classical And Contemporary, Mark L. Movsesian Jan 2006

Formalism In American Contract Law: Classical And Contemporary, Mark L. Movsesian

Faculty Publications

It is a universally acknowledged truth that we live in a formalist era—at least when it comes to American contract law. Much more than the jurisprudence of a generation ago, today's cutting-edge work in American contract scholarship values the formalist virtues of bright-line rules, objective interpretation, and party autonomy. Policing bargains for substantive fairness seems more and more an outdated notion. Courts, it is thought, should refrain from interfering with market exchanges. Private arbitration has displaced courts in the context of many traditional contract disputes. Even adhesion contracts find their defenders, much to the chagrin of communitarian scholars ...


Theory And Anti-Theory In The Work Of Allan Farnsworth, Wayne R. Barnes Jan 2006

Theory And Anti-Theory In The Work Of Allan Farnsworth, Wayne R. Barnes

Faculty Scholarship

When Allan Farnsworth passed away on January 31, 2005, the world lost a titan in the field of contracts. Farnsowrth has been described as “the great contemporary American scholar, and one of a handful of great world scholars, on the law of agreement...[He] was...perhaps The Authority on the law of contracts and much more.” Similarly, others have called him “the premiere figure in American Contracts law scholarship since the passing of Corbin and Dawson. The treatise and his half of the Second Restatement would be quite a contribution if there was nothing else.” Farnsworth’s casebook is perennially ...


Mercantile Stories & Postcolonial Stories-Stories Of The Code, 12 Tex. Wesleyan L. Rev. 377 (2005), Allen R. Kamp Jan 2005

Mercantile Stories & Postcolonial Stories-Stories Of The Code, 12 Tex. Wesleyan L. Rev. 377 (2005), Allen R. Kamp

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Joseph Baxendale, James J. Fishman Jan 2005

Joseph Baxendale, James J. Fishman

Pace Law Faculty Publications

The defendant in the great case of Hadley v. Baxendale is Joseph Baxendale, managing partner of Pickford and Co., the common carrier that delayed the delivery of the Hadley's shaft. Baxendale was named the defendant, because Pickfords was a partnership and did not incorporate until 1901. Joseph Baxendale was born in 1785, the son of a Lancastershire surgeon. In 1806, he moved to London, where he worked for a wholesale linen draper. Later, he became a partner in that firm, and developed the managerial and accounting skills that would serve him so well at Pickfords.


Rediscovering Williston, Mark L. Movsesian Jan 2005

Rediscovering Williston, Mark L. Movsesian

Faculty Publications

This Article is an intellectual history of classical contracts scholar Samuel Williston. Professor Movsesian argues that the conventional account of Williston's jurisprudence presents an incomplete and distorted picture. While much of Williston's work can strike a contemporary reader as arid and conceptual, there are strong elements of pragmatism as well. Williston insists that doctrine be justified in terms of real-world consequences, maintains that rules can have only presumptive force, and offers institutional explanations for judicial restraint. As a result, his scholarship shares more in common with today's new formalism than commonly supposed. Even the under-theorized quality of ...