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New York's Requirements For Contractual Definiteness With Application To The Formation Of Investment Vehicles, Royce De R. Barondes Jan 2022

New York's Requirements For Contractual Definiteness With Application To The Formation Of Investment Vehicles, Royce De R. Barondes

Faculty Publications

A review of 82 modern New York cases reveals an unexpected frequency of authority requiring contractual definiteness as to what may reasonably appear to be minor terms.
Illustrative are cases holding inadequately definite ordinary ways preliminary agreements may express compensation on a percentage of net basis. Other unexpected authority (i) is less willing than expected to allow subsequent actions to provide sufficient definiteness to initially indefinite agreements and (ii) denies the enforceability of confidentiality provisions and a right of first refusal.
The survey includes some unexpected support for contracts specifying a plausibly material portion of the consideration with inadequate definiteness ...


Whiteness As Contract, Marissa Jackson Sow Jan 2022

Whiteness As Contract, Marissa Jackson Sow

Faculty Publications

2020 forced scholars, policymakers, and activists alike to grapple with the impact of “twin pandemics”—the COVID-19 pandemic, which has devastated Black and Indigenous communities, and the scourge of structural and physical state violence against those same communities—on American society. As atrocious acts of anti-Black violence and harassment by law enforcement officers and white civilians are captured on recording devices, the gap between Black people’s human and civil rights and their living conditions has become readily apparent. Less visible human rights abuses camouflaged as private commercial matters, and thus out of the reach of the state, are also ...


Whiteness As Guilt: Attacking Critical Race Theory To Redeem The Racial Contract, Marissa Jackson Sow Jan 2022

Whiteness As Guilt: Attacking Critical Race Theory To Redeem The Racial Contract, Marissa Jackson Sow

Faculty Publications

The year of racial justice awakening following George Floyd’s 2020 murder have been accompanied by a rise in attacks on Black thought, including Critical Race Theory, led by far-right activists who are invested in maintenance of a white supremacist status quo in the United States. This Essay uses artist Kara Walker’s 2014 Sugar Sphinx to contextualize the critiques on Critical Race Theory and other manifestations of Black intellectualism as a campaign for perpetual absolution of white guilt, and even redemption of white supremacy, that is openly embraced by white nationalists but also secretly nourished—and cherished—by the ...


A Paradigm Shift In Comparative Institutional Governance: The Role Of Contract In Business Relationships And Cost/Benefit Analysis, Juliet P. Kostritsky Jan 2021

A Paradigm Shift In Comparative Institutional Governance: The Role Of Contract In Business Relationships And Cost/Benefit Analysis, Juliet P. Kostritsky

Faculty Publications

Stewart Macaulay’s research on the ways that Wisconsin manufacturers transact debunked the centrality of contract law by revealing a disinclination to consult contract documents or invoke legal sanctions. This research revolutionized contracts scholarship, highlighting that a contract, instead of being viewed as an inevitable necessity of exchange, should be viewed as one of many institutions that might be available to parties as a solution to problems and a method for facilitating exchange. Macaulay’s research further revealed that the cost of legal sanctions, the importance of maintaining business relationships, and the desire for informal solutions actually push parties to ...


Coming To Terms: Using Contract Theory To Understand The Detroit Water Shutoffs, Marissa Jackson Sow Jan 2021

Coming To Terms: Using Contract Theory To Understand The Detroit Water Shutoffs, Marissa Jackson Sow

Faculty Publications

After the City of Detroit underwent financial takeover and filed the largest municipal bankruptcy in American history in 2013, the city’s emergency manager encouraged mass water shutoffs as a way of making the city’s water utility a more attractive asset for sale— and for privatization—by ridding the water department of its association with bad debt. The sale never took place, but the water shutoff, too, became the largest ever in American history, with over 141,000 homes subjected to water disconnections over a period of over six years. The governor of the State of Michigan ordered that ...


Why Choose Ltas? An Empirical Study Of Ohio Manufacturer’S Contractual Choices Through A Bargaining Lens, Juliet P. Kostritsky, Jessica Ice Jan 2020

Why Choose Ltas? An Empirical Study Of Ohio Manufacturer’S Contractual Choices Through A Bargaining Lens, Juliet P. Kostritsky, Jessica Ice

Faculty Publications

This paper contributes to recent scholarship regarding Long Term Agreements (LTAs) by providing empirical evidence that suppliers are more likely to undertake the costs of an LTA if the transaction requires significant capital expenditures or the potential for large sunk costs. Through a survey of a random group of 63 Ohio supplier/manufacturers, the paper explores why supplier/manufacturers with a full range of contractual and non-contractual solutions might choose one set of arrangements over others. It then seeks to link its findings to a broader theory of how parties bargain to solve durable problems under conditions of uncertainty, sunk ...


Statutes And The Common Law Of Contracts: A Shared Methodology, Juliet P. Kostritsky Jan 2020

Statutes And The Common Law Of Contracts: A Shared Methodology, Juliet P. Kostritsky

Faculty Publications

This chapter explores the intersection between, or the impact of, statutes on contract law, and compares the relative importance of, and intersections between, statutory and common law in contract.


Online Dispute Resolution For Smart Contracts, Amy J. Schmitz, Colin Rule Jan 2019

Online Dispute Resolution For Smart Contracts, Amy J. Schmitz, Colin Rule

Faculty Publications

Smart contracts built in the blockchain are quietly revolutionizing traditional transactions despite their questionable status under current law. At the same time, disputes regarding smart contracts are inevitable, and par-ties will need means for dealing with smart contract issues. This Article tackles this challenge, and proposes that parties turn to online dispute resolution (“ODR”) to efficiently and fairly resolve smart contract disputes. Furthermore, the Article acknowledges the benefits and challenges of current blockchain ODR start-ups, and proposes specific ideas for how designers could address those challenges and incorporate ODR to provide just resolutions that will not stymie efficiencies of smart ...


Cutting Pension Rights For Public Workers: Don't Look To The Courts For Help, Ronald H. Rosenberg Jan 2019

Cutting Pension Rights For Public Workers: Don't Look To The Courts For Help, Ronald H. Rosenberg

Faculty Publications

Every day we rely on public employees to provide us with a broad range of services necessary to daily life. These workers include public school teachers, fire and police, emergency medical technicians, park rangers, nurses just to name a few. As public employees, these people work for local and state government and they are compensated by us for their services through the taxes we pay. In general, these are modestly paid workers who also receive pensions when they retire after many years of work. Following the financial crisis of 2008-2009, government retirement trust funds significantly lost value and their long-term ...


The Best And Worst Of Contracts Decisions: An Anthology, Nathan B. Oman, Daniel Barnhizer, Scott J. Burnham, Charles R. Calleros, Larry T. Garvin, Nadelle Grossman, F. E. Guerra-Pujol, Jeffrey L. Harrison, Hila Keren, Michael P. Malloy, Daniel P. O'Gorman, Deborah Post, Val Ricks, Rachel Arnow-Richman, Richard R. Carlson, Mark P. Gergen, Kenney Hegland, Nancy S. Kim, Jean Fleming Powers, Cheryl B. Preston Jul 2018

The Best And Worst Of Contracts Decisions: An Anthology, Nathan B. Oman, Daniel Barnhizer, Scott J. Burnham, Charles R. Calleros, Larry T. Garvin, Nadelle Grossman, F. E. Guerra-Pujol, Jeffrey L. Harrison, Hila Keren, Michael P. Malloy, Daniel P. O'Gorman, Deborah Post, Val Ricks, Rachel Arnow-Richman, Richard R. Carlson, Mark P. Gergen, Kenney Hegland, Nancy S. Kim, Jean Fleming Powers, Cheryl B. Preston

Faculty Publications

Five hundred years ago, the common law of contract was without substance. It was form-procedure. Plaintiffs picked a form of action, and common law judges made sure someone besides themselves answered all the hard questions; the parties, a jury, or a ritual determined the winner and the remedy. Judges ran a switch on a conflicts-resolution railway. Thomas More, when Chancellor of England (1529-33), urged judges to lay tracks and control the trains. The problem, he said, was that the judges, "by the verdict of the jury[,] cast off all quarrels from themselves." The judges soon assumed greater authority, taking responsibility ...


A Bargaining Dynamic Transaction Cost Approach To Understanding Framework Contracts, Juliet P. Kostritsky Jan 2018

A Bargaining Dynamic Transaction Cost Approach To Understanding Framework Contracts, Juliet P. Kostritsky

Faculty Publications

This Article takes a different approach. It draws on the literature of these scholars but suggests that another way to understand the arrangements parties enter into in a variety of settings to purchase or sell goods or to innovate on a product or drug can best be understood in terms of a bargaining dynamic that looks at how the private interests of the parties are turned into joint interests in the agreement reached. It is a mistake to talk about the form of a contract without first understanding the bargaining needs and positions of the parties and how those needs ...


Reconsidering Contractual Consent: Why We Shouldn't Worry Too Much About Boilerplate And Other Puzzles, Nathan B. Oman Oct 2017

Reconsidering Contractual Consent: Why We Shouldn't Worry Too Much About Boilerplate And Other Puzzles, Nathan B. Oman

Faculty Publications

Our theoretical approaches to contract law have dramatically over-estimated the importance of voluntary consent. The central thesis of this article is that voluntary consent plays at best a secondary role in the normative justification of contract law. Rather, contract law should be seen as part of an evolutionary process of finding solutions to problems of social organization in markets. Like natural evolution, this process depends on variation and feedback. Unlike natural evolution, both the variation and the feedback mechanisms are products of human invention. On this theory, consent serves two roles in contract law. First, consent makes freedom of contract ...


Why Flexibility Matters: Inequality And Contract Pluralism, Jeremiah A. Ho Jan 2017

Why Flexibility Matters: Inequality And Contract Pluralism, Jeremiah A. Ho

Faculty Publications

In the decade since the Great Recession, various contract scholars have observed that one reason the financial crisis was so “great” was due in part to contract law—or, more precisely, the failures of contract law for not curbing the risky lending practices in the American housing market. However, there is another reason why contracts made that recession so great: contracts furthered inequality. In recent years, when economic inequality has become a dominant national conversation topic, we can see development of that inequality in the Great Recession. And indeed, contract law was complicit. While contractual flexibility and innovation were available ...


What We Buy When We "Buy Now", Aaron K. Perzanowski, Chris Jay Hoofnagle Jan 2017

What We Buy When We "Buy Now", Aaron K. Perzanowski, Chris Jay Hoofnagle

Faculty Publications

Retailers such as Apple and Amazon market digital media to consumers using the familiar language of product ownership, including phrases like “buy now,” “own,” and “purchase.” Consumers may understandably associate such language with strong personal property rights. But the license agreements and terms of use associated with these transactions tell a different story. They explain that ebooks, mp3 albums, digital movies, games, and software are not sold, but merely licensed. The terms limit consumers' ability to resell, lend, transfer, and even retain possession of the digital media they acquire. Moreover, unlike physical media products, access to digital media is contingent ...


Remedy Realities In Business-To-Consumer Contracting, Amy J. Schmitz Jan 2016

Remedy Realities In Business-To-Consumer Contracting, Amy J. Schmitz

Faculty Publications

Professor Jean Braucher greatly contributed to the exploration of consumer and contract law by questioning how the law operates in the real world and highlighting the importance of “law in action.” In recognition of that contribution, this Article focuses on law in action with respect to consumers’ quest to obtain remedies regarding their business-to-consumers (“B2C”) contracts. Currently, consumers often have no practical recourse with respect to B2C purchase problems due to the complexity, cost, and inconvenience of the processes for obtaining remedies. Accordingly, stated legal rights become meaningless for individuals living in the real world. This Article, therefore, explores access ...


The Will As An Implied Unilateral Arbitration Contract, E. Gary Spitko Jan 2016

The Will As An Implied Unilateral Arbitration Contract, E. Gary Spitko

Faculty Publications

A consensus has begun to develop in the case law, the academic commentary, and the statutory reform movement that a testator’s provision in her will mandating arbitration of any challenge to the will should not be enforceable against a beneficiary who has not agreed to the arbitration provision, at least where the will contestant, by her contest, seeks to increase her inheritance outside the will. Grounding this consensus is the widespread understanding that a will is not a contract. This Article seeks to challenge both the understanding that the will is not a contract and the opposition to enforcement ...


The Paradox Of The Right To Contract: Noncompete Agreements As Thirteenth Amendment Violations, Ayesha B. Hardaway Jan 2016

The Paradox Of The Right To Contract: Noncompete Agreements As Thirteenth Amendment Violations, Ayesha B. Hardaway

Faculty Publications

There is a growing trend across the nation for employers to require low-level, unskilled workers to execute noncompete agreements as a condition of being hired to work as an at-will employee. The application of noncompete agreements in low-wage positions occupied by unskilled workers is outside of the original scope and purpose of such agreements. These individuals lack both bargaining power and protection from being terminated without cause. Moreover, upon termination of their employment, the executed noncompete agreement can legally prevent these workers from securing employment with another company.

The enforcement of noncompete agreements in these circumstances may require low-level, unskilled ...


The Need For A Law Of Church And Market, Nathan B. Oman Apr 2015

The Need For A Law Of Church And Market, Nathan B. Oman

Faculty Publications

This Essay uses Helfand and Richman’s fine article to raise the question of the law of church and market. In Part I, I argue that the question of religion’s proper relationship to the market is more than simply another aspect of the church-state debates. Rather, it is a topic deserving explicit reflection in its own right. In Part II, I argue that Helfand and Richman demonstrate the danger of creating the law of church and market by accident. Courts and legislators do this when they resolve questions religious commerce poses by applying legal theories developed without any thought ...


Frictions And The Persistence Of Inferior Contract Terms, Royce De R. Barondes Jan 2015

Frictions And The Persistence Of Inferior Contract Terms, Royce De R. Barondes

Faculty Publications

A rudimentary conceptualization of the development of ancillary contract terms would assert competition will result in terms that are joint-wealth-maximizing for merchants and customers. Building on developments in modeling frictions in markets, this article presents simple models of frictions in multi-period contracting as to ancillary contract terms. The modeling illustrates that, for plausible parameter estimates of frictions, combinations of switching costs and investigation costs may allow collectively inferior contract terms to persist in consumer transactions. The results are in harmony with recent evidence illustrating the infrequency with which consumers actually read contract terms. The modeling identifies circumstances where this opportunistic ...


Catalyzing Fans, Howard Wasserman, Dan Markel, Michael Mccann Jan 2015

Catalyzing Fans, Howard Wasserman, Dan Markel, Michael Mccann

Faculty Publications

This paper proposes the development of Fan Action Committees (“FACs”), which, like their political counterpart ("PACs"), could mobilize and empower fans to play a larger role in the decision-making associated with which “production teams” the talent will work.

We outline two institutional options: FACs could directly compensate talent by crowdfunding, or they could make donations to charities favored by talent. We then discuss both obstacles and objections from a variety of policy and legal perspectives ranging from competitive balance to distributive justice. Finally, we consider possible extensions of the FAC model as well as offer some ruminations on why FACs ...


Efficient Contextualism, Peter M. Gerhart, Juliet P. Kostritsky Jan 2015

Efficient Contextualism, Peter M. Gerhart, Juliet P. Kostritsky

Faculty Publications

This Article recommends an economic methodology of contract interpretation that enables the court to maximize the benefits of exchange for the parties and thereby enhance the institution of contracting. We recommend a methodology that asks the parties to identify the determinants of a surplus maximizing interpretation so that the court can determine whether the determinants raise issues that need to be tried. We thus avoid the false choice between textualist and contextualist methodologies, while allowing the parties and the court to avoid costly litigation. For textualist courts, our methodology helps the judge determine when the terms the parties used are ...


Context Matters - What Lawyers About Choice Of Law In Merger Agreements, Juliet P. Kostritsky Jan 2015

Context Matters - What Lawyers About Choice Of Law In Merger Agreements, Juliet P. Kostritsky

Faculty Publications

Finding out the truth about a matter can proceed in many different ways. Neoclassical law and economists would construct models built on certain assumptions. The empiricists and contextualists would collect data about the matter in the inductive not deductive sense.

The choice of law in merger agreements presents an opportunity to study a contractual provision in the context of merger deals to see what we can learn from studying the choices in detail.

There are a variety of ways to approach these provisions in merger agreements. Can we learn anything about how choices are made in the drafting of these ...


Private Ordering In The Market For Professional Services, Cassandra Burke Robertson Jan 2014

Private Ordering In The Market For Professional Services, Cassandra Burke Robertson

Faculty Publications

Freedom of contract is significantly restricted in the market for professional services. Under the so-called “corporate practice doctrine,” professionals such as doctors and lawyers are prohibited from practicing within corporate entities, and laypeople are likewise prohibited from investing in professional service firms. Defenders of this prohibition argue that it can be justified as a means of protecting professional independence and thereby increasing the quality of care. In fact, however, the available evidence suggests that investment restrictions are counterproductive to their stated goal. In practice, these restrictions raise costs and reduce access without measurably improving the quality of service at all ...


Sex Matters: Considering Gender In Consumer Contracts, Amy J. Schmitz Apr 2013

Sex Matters: Considering Gender In Consumer Contracts, Amy J. Schmitz

Faculty Publications

We hear about the so-called “War on Women” and persisting salary gaps between men and women in the popular media, but contracts scholars and policymakers rarely discuss gender. Instead, dominant voices in the contracts field often reflect classical and economics-driven theories built on assumptions of gender neutral and economically rational actors. Furthermore, many mistakenly assume that market competition and antidiscrimination legislation address any improper biases in contracting. This Article therefore aims to shed light on gender’s importance by distilling data from my own e-survey of Colorado consumers along with others’ research regarding gender differences in contract outcomes, interests and ...


Markets As A Moral Foundation For Contract Law, Nathan B. Oman Nov 2012

Markets As A Moral Foundation For Contract Law, Nathan B. Oman

Faculty Publications

No abstract provided.


Side Letters, Incorporation By Reference And Construction Of Contractual Relationships Memorialized In Multiple Writings, Royce De R. Barondes Oct 2012

Side Letters, Incorporation By Reference And Construction Of Contractual Relationships Memorialized In Multiple Writings, Royce De R. Barondes

Faculty Publications

This article will examine the legal principles applicable to contractual relationships memorialized in multiple writings.


Bad Faith At Middle Age: Comments On The Principle Without A Name (Yet), Insurance Law, Contract Law, Specialness, Distinctiveness, And Difference, Robert H. Jerry Ii Oct 2012

Bad Faith At Middle Age: Comments On The Principle Without A Name (Yet), Insurance Law, Contract Law, Specialness, Distinctiveness, And Difference, Robert H. Jerry Ii

Faculty Publications

In this article, Robert Jerry expounds on Professor Abraham's article on insurer liability for bad faith by pointing out that the concept of institutional bad faith is not a new phenomenon, but rather, one that is as old as the insurance industry itself Jerry focuses on Abraham's depiction of the "specialness" and "distinctiveness" of insurance, while exploring additional instances of "rotten to the core" systemic bad faith dating as far back as the nineteenth-century. Much like Abraham did in his article on bad faith, Jerry uses these examples of systemic bad faith to further his assertion that the ...


Promise And Private Law, Nathan B. Oman Jul 2012

Promise And Private Law, Nathan B. Oman

Faculty Publications

This essay was part of a symposium on the thirtieth anniversary of the publication of Charles Fried's Contract as Promise and revisits Fried's theory in light of two developments in the private-law scholarship: the rise of corrective justice and civil-recourse theories. The structural features that motivate these theories-the bilateralism of damages and the private standing of plaintiffs-are both elements of the law of contracts that Contract as Promise sets out to explain. I begin with the issue of bilateralism. Remedies--in particular the defense of expectation damages--occupy much of Fried's attention in Contract as Promise, and he insists ...


Building Bridges To Consumer Remedies In International Econflicts, Amy J. Schmitz Jan 2012

Building Bridges To Consumer Remedies In International Econflicts, Amy J. Schmitz

Faculty Publications

Consumer purchases over the Internet (“ePurchases”) are on the rise, thereby causing an increase in conflicts regarding these purchases (“eConflicts”). Furthermore, these conflicts are increasingly international as consumers purchase goods over the Internet not knowing or caring where the seller is physically located. The problem is that if the purchase goes awry, consumers are often left without recourse due to the futility of pursing international litigation and the textured law and policy regarding enforcement of private dispute resolution procedures, namely arbitration. The United States strictly enforces arbitration contracts in business-to-consumer (“B2C”) relationships, while other countries have refused or limited enforcement ...


Access To Consumer Remedies In The Squeaky Wheel System, Amy J. Schmitz Jan 2012

Access To Consumer Remedies In The Squeaky Wheel System, Amy J. Schmitz

Faculty Publications

This article explores the “Squeaky Wheel System” (“SWS”) in business-to-consumer (“B2C”) contexts, referring to merchants’ reservation of purchase remedies and other contract benefits for only the relatively few “squeaky wheel” consumers who have the requisite information and resources to persistently seek assistance. The article uncovers how this system fosters contractual discrimination and hinders consumers’ awareness and access with respect to contract remedies. It also adds empirical insights from my recent e-survey, and offers suggestions for using the internet to empower consumers of all economic and status levels with efficient and accessible means for learning about their purchase rights and asserting ...