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Full-Text Articles in Law

Covid-19 Risk Factors And Boilerplate Disclosure, Stephen J. Choi, Mitu Gulati, Xuan Liu, Adam C. Pritchard Feb 2024

Covid-19 Risk Factors And Boilerplate Disclosure, Stephen J. Choi, Mitu Gulati, Xuan Liu, Adam C. Pritchard

Law & Economics Working Papers

The SEC mandates that public companies assess new information that changes the risks that they face and disclose these if there has been a “material” change. Does that theory work in practice? Or are companies copying and repeating the same generic disclosures? Using the shock of the COVID-19 pandemic, we explore these questions. Overall, we find considerable rote copying of boilerplate disclosures. Further, the factors that correlate with deviations from the boilerplate seem related more to the resources that companies have (large companies change updated disclosures more) and litigation risks (companies vulnerable to shareholder litigation update more) rather than general …


Brief Of Legal Scholars As Amici Curiae In Support Of Respondents, Becerra V. San Carlos Apache Tribe, Becerra V. Northern Arapaho Tribe, U.S. Supreme Court Docket Nos. 23-250 & 23-253, Gregory Ablavsky, Seth Davis, Patty Ferguson-Bohnee, Ethan J. Leib, Dan Lewerenz, Nazune Menka, Monte Mills, Richard Monette, Joseph William Singer, Gerald Torres, Rebecca Tsosie Feb 2024

Brief Of Legal Scholars As Amici Curiae In Support Of Respondents, Becerra V. San Carlos Apache Tribe, Becerra V. Northern Arapaho Tribe, U.S. Supreme Court Docket Nos. 23-250 & 23-253, Gregory Ablavsky, Seth Davis, Patty Ferguson-Bohnee, Ethan J. Leib, Dan Lewerenz, Nazune Menka, Monte Mills, Richard Monette, Joseph William Singer, Gerald Torres, Rebecca Tsosie

Court Briefs

Congress has enacted into law thousands of statutory provisions containing rules of construction. These rules direct courts to the permissible interpretations of the statutes that Congress enacts.

With respect to the self-determination contracts between Indian tribes and the United States at issue in these cases, the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (ISDA) prescribes two interpretive rules that serve as congressional directives to this Court. First, each provision of the self-determination contract must be construed liberally for the benefit of the tribe. Second, the same is true of the statute itself: each provision of the ISDA must be construed liberally …


Online Disinhibited Contracts, Wayne R. Barnes Feb 2024

Online Disinhibited Contracts, Wayne R. Barnes

Faculty Scholarship

There have been at least two dominant forces at work in the realm of consumer contracting over the past several decades. One has been the rise and domination of the standard form contract (whereby merchants contract with consumers via the use of standardized, boilerplate terms and conditions that consumers do not read or understand). The second force has been the rise of e-commerce and the purchase of goods and services via websites and other online platforms, and the use of “wrap” formation methodology (whereby merchants obtain consumer assent to the online terms and conditions via the consumer’s informal click, scroll, …


Against Algorithmic Auer Deference, Chad Squitieri Jan 2024

Against Algorithmic Auer Deference, Chad Squitieri

Scholarly Articles

Smart contracts (i.e., electronic agreements written in computer code) can resolve contractual disputes instantaneously, without resorting to court. For workers and consumers—whose lack of bargaining power often requires them to accept pre-drafted contracts on a take-it-or-leave-it basis—reducing the role that courts play in resolving contractual disputes can be problematic. While courts could deploy traditional interpretive doctrines (e.g., contra proferentem) to interpret vague contract language against the drafter’s interests, smart contracts can be programmed to interpret contract language in the drafting party’s favor. Because the drafting party knows that they will have the ability to interpret vague language in their own …


Contractual Landmines, Robert E. Scott, Stephen J. Choi, Mitu Gulati Jan 2024

Contractual Landmines, Robert E. Scott, Stephen J. Choi, Mitu Gulati

Faculty Scholarship

Conventional wisdom is that the standardized boilerplate terms used in large commercial markets survive unchanged because they are an optimal solution to the contracting problems facing parties in these markets. As Smith and Warner explained, “harmful heuristics, like harmful mutations, will die out.” But an examination of a sample of current sovereign bond contracts reveals numerous instances of harmful landmines — some are deliberate changes to standard language that increase a creditor’s nonpayment risk, others are blatant drafting errors, and yet others are inapt terms that have been carelessly imported from corporate transactions. Moreover, these landmines differ from each other …


Silencing Jorge Luis Borges The Wrongful Suppression Of The Di Giovanni Translations, Wes Henricksen Jan 2024

Silencing Jorge Luis Borges The Wrongful Suppression Of The Di Giovanni Translations, Wes Henricksen

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Beyond Trade Secrecy: Confidentiality Agreements That Act Like Noncompetes, Camilla A. Hrdy, Christopher B. Seaman Jan 2024

Beyond Trade Secrecy: Confidentiality Agreements That Act Like Noncompetes, Camilla A. Hrdy, Christopher B. Seaman

Scholarly Articles

There is a substantial literature on noncompete agreements and their adverse impact on employee mobility and innovation. But a far more common restraint in employment contracts has been underexplored: confidentiality agreements, sometimes called nondisclosure agreements (NDAs). A confidentiality agreement is not a blanket prohibition on competition. Rather, it is simply a promise not to use or disclose specific information. Confidentiality agreements encompass trade secrets, as defined by state and federal laws, but confidentiality agreements almost always go beyond trade secrecy, encompassing any information the employer imparted to the employee in confidence.

Despite widespread use, confidentiality agreements have received little attention. …


Contract-Wrapped Property, Danielle D'Onfro Jan 2024

Contract-Wrapped Property, Danielle D'Onfro

Scholarship@WashULaw

For nearly two centuries, the law has allowed servitudes that “run with” real property while consistently refusing to permit servitudes attached to personal property. That is, owners of land can establish new, specific requirements for the property that bind all future owners—but owners of chattels cannot. In recent decades, however, firms have increasingly begun relying on contract provisions that purport to bind future owners of chattels. These developments began in the context of software licensing, but they have started to migrate to chattels not encumbered by software. Courts encountering these provisions have mostly missed their significance, focusing instead on questions …


Duality In Contract And Tort, Tim Friehe, Joshua C. Teitelbaum Jan 2024

Duality In Contract And Tort, Tim Friehe, Joshua C. Teitelbaum

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

We study situations in which a single investment serves the dual role of increasing the expected value of a contract (a reliance investment) and reducing the expected harm of a post-performance accident (a care investment). We show that failing to account for the duality of the investment leads to inefficient damages for breach of contract and inefficient standards for due care in tort. Conversely, we show that accounting for the duality yields contract damage measures and tort liability rules that provide correct incentives for efficient breach and reliance in contract and for efficient care in tort.


Similar Fact Evidence In Contractual Interpretation: Bhoomatidevi D/O Kishinchand Chugani Mrs Kavita Gope Mirwani V Nantakumar S/O V Ramachandra And Another [2023] Sghc 37, Calvin John Kaiwen Chirnside Jan 2024

Similar Fact Evidence In Contractual Interpretation: Bhoomatidevi D/O Kishinchand Chugani Mrs Kavita Gope Mirwani V Nantakumar S/O V Ramachandra And Another [2023] Sghc 37, Calvin John Kaiwen Chirnside

Research Collection Yong Pung How School Of Law

In the recent Singapore High Court case of Bhoomatidevi d/o Kishinchand Chugani Mrs Kavita Gope Mirwani v Nantakumar s/o v Ramachandra and another [2023] SGHC 37, the claimant argued, inter alia, that evidence of a prior contract between the first defendant and a third party should be admitted to prove that the defendant had entered into a loan agreement with her in his personal capacity. Justice Lee Seiu Kin dismissed her claim, applying s. 14 of the Evidence Act.


When Is It Fair To Break Promises? Illuminating Promissory Estoppel's Inequity Requirement, Marcus Moore Dec 2023

When Is It Fair To Break Promises? Illuminating Promissory Estoppel's Inequity Requirement, Marcus Moore

All Faculty Publications

Promissory estoppel is an important adjunct to contract law, allowing non-contractual promises to be legally binding under prescribed conditions. These conditions include reliance by the promisee, as the doctrine serves to protect reasonable reliance induced by certain types of promises. Typically, the conditions also include a requirement that it would be inequitable for the promisor to go back on the promise. This inequity requirement reflects the nature of promissory estoppel as a creature of the law of equity. Beyond this, however, considerable uncertainty surrounds the inequity element. For example, there are diverging views as to whether it embodies a distinct …


Deontics And Time In Contracts: An Executable Semantics For The L4 Dsl, Seng Joe Watt, Oliver Goodenough, Meng Weng (Huang Mingrong) Wong Dec 2023

Deontics And Time In Contracts: An Executable Semantics For The L4 Dsl, Seng Joe Watt, Oliver Goodenough, Meng Weng (Huang Mingrong) Wong

Research Collection Yong Pung How School Of Law

Existing approaches to modelling contracts often rely on deontic logic to reason about norms, and only treat time qualitatively. Using L4, a textual domain specific language (DSL) for the law, we offer a more operational interpretation of norms, based on states and transitions, that also accounts for the granular timing of events. In this paper, we present a higher-level rendering of the loan agreement from Flood & Goodenough in L4, and an accompanying operational semantics amenable to execution and static analysis. We also implement this semantics in Maude and show how this lets us visualize the execution of the loan …


After Ftx: Can The Original Bitcoin Use Case Be Saved?, Mark Burge Dec 2023

After Ftx: Can The Original Bitcoin Use Case Be Saved?, Mark Burge

Faculty Scholarship

Bitcoin and the other cryptocurrencies spawned by the innovation of blockchain programming have exploded in prominence, both in gains of massive market value and in dramatic market losses, the latter most notably seen in connection with the failure of the FTX cryptocurrency exchange in November 2022. After years of investment and speculation, however, something crucial has faded: the original use case for Bitcoin as a system of payment. Can cryptocurrency-as-a-payment-system be saved, or are day traders and speculators the actual cryptocurrency future? This article suggests that cryptocurrency has been hobbled by a lack of foundational commercial and consumer-protection law that …


Expecting Specific Performance, Tess Wilkinson-Ryan, David Hoffman, Emily Campbell Nov 2023

Expecting Specific Performance, Tess Wilkinson-Ryan, David Hoffman, Emily Campbell

Articles

Using a series of surveys and experiments, we find that ordinary people think that courts will give them exactly what they bargained for after breach of contract; in other words, specific performance is the expected contractual remedy. This expectation is widespread even for the diverse array of deals where the legal remedy is traditionally limited to money damages. But for a significant fraction of people, the focus on equity seems to be a naïve belief that is open to updating. In the studies reported here, individuals were less likely to anticipate specific performance when they were briefly introduced to the …


Defeating The Empire Of Forms, David Hoffman Nov 2023

Defeating The Empire Of Forms, David Hoffman

Articles

For generations, contract scholars have waged a faint-hearted campaign against form contracts. It’s widely believed that adhesive forms are unread and chock full of terms that courts will not, or should not, enforce. Most think that the market for contract terms is broken, for both employees and consumer adherents. And yet forms are so embedded in our economy that it’s hard to imagine modern commercial life without them. Scholars thus push calibrated, careful solutions that walk a deeply rutted path. Notwithstanding hundreds of proposals calling for their retrenchment, the empire of forms has continued to advance into new areas of …


Formalism In Contract Exposition, Gregory Klass Nov 2023

Formalism In Contract Exposition, Gregory Klass

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Formalism in contract law has had many defenders and many critics. What lawmakers need, however, is an account of when formalist approaches work and when they do not. This article addresses that need by providing general theory of the rules of contract interpretation and construction and identifying several ways those rules can be more or less formalist. The theory draws from legal philosophy, the philosophy of language, economic contracts scholarship, and caselaw.

The result is a distinction between two forms of formalism in contract law. Formalities effect legal change by virtue of their form alone, thereby obviating interpretation. Examples from …


Convergence By Design: Who Contracts And The Plural Purposes Of Contract Law, Gregory Klass Nov 2023

Convergence By Design: Who Contracts And The Plural Purposes Of Contract Law, Gregory Klass

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

A theory is robustly pluralist if it maintains that law is justified by multiple independent nonordered principles. Some have argued that robustly pluralist theories are deficient because they can provide no practical guidance when those principles conflict. The objection is misplaced when applied to pluralist theories of contract law.

This article demonstrates the possibility of a robustly pluralist and practically relevant theory of contract law by modeling a multipurpose law of contract. Five simple models are constructed to illustrate several purposes a contract law might serve, depending on preferences of the populace (self-interested utility maximizers, a preference for sharing, a …


An Idealist’S Approach For Smart Contract Correctness, Duy Tai Nguyen, Hong Long Pham, Jun Sun, Quang Loc Le Nov 2023

An Idealist’S Approach For Smart Contract Correctness, Duy Tai Nguyen, Hong Long Pham, Jun Sun, Quang Loc Le

Research Collection School Of Computing and Information Systems

In this work, we experiment an idealistic approach for smart contract correctness verification and enforcement, based on the assumption that developers are either desired or required to provide a correctness specification due to the importance of smart contracts and the fact that they are immutable after deployment. We design a static verification system with a specification language which supports fully compositional verification (with the help of function specifications, contract invariants, loop invariants and call invariants). Our approach has been implemented in a tool named iContract which automatically proves the correctness of a smart contract statically or checks the unverified part …


Integrating Doctrine And Diversity Speaker Series: How Does Diversity, Equity, Inclusion And Belonging Pedagogy Fit In Business Issues And Financial Affairs Classes? Leading With Deib In Wills, Trusts, Estates, Insurance, Contracts, And Taxation Law Classes, Roger Williams University School Of Law Oct 2023

Integrating Doctrine And Diversity Speaker Series: How Does Diversity, Equity, Inclusion And Belonging Pedagogy Fit In Business Issues And Financial Affairs Classes? Leading With Deib In Wills, Trusts, Estates, Insurance, Contracts, And Taxation Law Classes, Roger Williams University School Of Law

School of Law Conferences, Lectures & Events

No abstract provided.


Twenty Years After Krieger V Law Society Of Alberta: Law Society Discipline Of Crown Prosecutors And Government Lawyers, Andrew Flavelle Martin Oct 2023

Twenty Years After Krieger V Law Society Of Alberta: Law Society Discipline Of Crown Prosecutors And Government Lawyers, Andrew Flavelle Martin

Articles, Book Chapters, & Popular Press

Krieger v. Law Society of Alberta held that provincial and territorial law societies have disciplinary jurisdiction over Crown prosecutors for conduct outside of prosecutorial discretion. The reasoning in Krieger would also apply to government lawyers. The apparent consensus is that law societies rarely exercise that jurisdiction. But in those rare instances, what conduct do Canadian law societies discipline Crown prosecutors and government lawyers for? In this article, I canvass reported disciplinary decisions to demonstrate that, while law societies sometimes discipline Crown prosecutors for violations unique to those lawyers, they often do so for violations applicable to all lawyers — particularly …


Exit Engineering, Rachel Landy Oct 2023

Exit Engineering, Rachel Landy

Articles

How do business lawyers create value? For nearly forty years, scholars have conceptualized the business lawyer as a “transaction cost engineer” who helps contracting parties efficiently break negotiation stalemates to create more valuable deals. This theory provides meaningful insights about sophisticated corporate law practice, where outside lawyers parachute in to make one-off deals happen. However, it fails to explain the behavior of startup lawyers, who develop long-term relationships with their clients and counsel them on seemingly routine matters, well before a major transaction materializes. These lawyers are not just transaction cost engineers, they are exit engineers.This Article offers a novel …


Expert Insights On Best Practices For Community Benefits Agreements, Matthew Eisenson, Romany M. Webb Sep 2023

Expert Insights On Best Practices For Community Benefits Agreements, Matthew Eisenson, Romany M. Webb

Sabin Center for Climate Change Law

This report outlines 35 recommendations for developers and host communities when negotiating and drafting Community Benefits Agreements (CBAs) for direct air capture hubs and other clean energy projects. These recommendations come from interviews with attorneys and other experts who have collectively negotiated dozens of CBAs for climate infrastructure and other types of projects.


A Non-Contractual Approach To Smart Contracts, Florian Gamper Sep 2023

A Non-Contractual Approach To Smart Contracts, Florian Gamper

Research Collection Yong Pung How School Of Law

This article adds to the debate on what, legally speaking, smart contracts are and what they should be. Currently, much of this debate focuses on the relationship between smart contracts and legal contracts, overlooking that other legal categories may also be appropriate. This article suggests that the concept of abandonment can be fruitfully applied to smart contracts. Using the concept of abandonment has the advantage of allowing smart contracts, as close as legally possible, to be utilized as machines (or using the terminology suggested by Vitalik Buterin, founder of Etherium, as a ‘persistent script’). It would also make other issues, …


Modular Bankruptcy: Toward A Consumer Scheme Of Arrangement, John A. E. Pottow Aug 2023

Modular Bankruptcy: Toward A Consumer Scheme Of Arrangement, John A. E. Pottow

Law & Economics Working Papers

The world of international bankruptcy has seen increasing use of the versatile scheme of arrangement, a form of corporate reorganization available under English law. A key feature of the scheme is its modularity, whereby a debtor can restructure only a single class of debt, such as bond indentures, without affecting other debt, such as trade. This is the opposite of chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code’s comprehensive reckoning of all financial stakeholders. This article considers a novel idea: could the scheme be transplanted into the consumer realm? It argues that it could and should. Substantial benefits of more individually …


Developments In Contract Law: The 2021-2022 Term — The Enduring Allure Of Freedom Of Contract, Marcus Moore Aug 2023

Developments In Contract Law: The 2021-2022 Term — The Enduring Allure Of Freedom Of Contract, Marcus Moore

All Faculty Publications

A review of recent developments in Contract Law reveals that Freedom of Contract continues to thrive in the jurisprudence a half-century after its supposed fall. As the analysis here shows, it is a theme which animates not only general thinking about contracts, but also court resolution of specific cases and issues. High-level considerations drive the reasoning, colouring the application of more detailed rules where these exist. And among these high-level considerations, Freedom of Contract enjoys privileged status as the default law, against which opposing considerations in practice must justify themselves as exceptions. Other considerations vary in their power to constrain …


Confidentiality Clauses In Settlement Agreements After The Consumer Review Fairness Act, Wayne Barnes Jul 2023

Confidentiality Clauses In Settlement Agreements After The Consumer Review Fairness Act, Wayne Barnes

Faculty Scholarship

Online commerce has skyrocketed in recent years, and shoppers are purchasing goods or services online in greater numbers every year. The COVID-19 pandemic has only hastened the trend. One significant aspect of online shopping is the presence of consumer reviews posted by prior purchasers of goods or services, describing their experience with the products, the services and/or the selling merchant. A vast majority of online shoppers say that they rely on these reviews to help inform their purchasing decisions. Positive reviews can be tremendously beneficial to a business’ profitability, whereas negative reviews can be equally detrimental. Users of the internet …


Stopping Runs In The Digital Era, Luís C. Calderón Gómez Jul 2023

Stopping Runs In The Digital Era, Luís C. Calderón Gómez

Articles

Bank runs, and the financial crises they catalyze and amplify, are incredibly costly-to individuals, families, society, and the economy writ large. Banking regulation has, for the most part, protected us from traditional bank runs for the last ninety years. However, as we saw in the devastating 2008 financial crisis, bank runs can still occur in lightly regulated or opaque segments of the financial sector.

The recent crypto market downturn dramatically forewarned regulators of the potential and significant risks that novel assets could pose to our financial system's stability. In particular, a novel, systemically important asset (stablecoins) revealed its vulnerability to …


What Might Contract Theory Be, Gregory Klass Jul 2023

What Might Contract Theory Be, Gregory Klass

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Few contract theories begin with so comprehensive a discussion of method as does Stephen Smith’s book, Contract Theory. In the first chapter, “What Is Contract Theory,” Smith describes an interpretive approach guided by four goals: fit with the existing law, internal coherence, moral attractiveness, and transparency to legal actors.

This chapter, to appear in the forthcoming Understanding Private Law: Essays in Honour of Stephen A. Smith, does a deep dive into Smith’s description and defense of those goals. Smith pictures the contract theorist as an observer standing outside legal practice, interpreting the law but not participating in it. …


Standards And The Law, Cary Coglianese Apr 2023

Standards And The Law, Cary Coglianese

All Faculty Scholarship

The world of standards and the world of laws are often seen as separate, but they are more closely intertwined than many professionals working with laws or standards realize. Although standards are typically considered to be voluntary and non-binding, they can intersect with and affect the law in numerous ways. They can serve as benchmarks for determine liability in tort or contract. They can facilitate domestic and international transactions. They can prompt negotiations over the licensing of patents. They can govern the development of forensic evidence admissible in criminal courts. And standards can even become binding law themselves when they …


Brief Of Amicus Curiae Gregory Klass In Support Of Plaintiff-Appellee, Gregory Klass Apr 2023

Brief Of Amicus Curiae Gregory Klass In Support Of Plaintiff-Appellee, Gregory Klass

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

This scholar’s amicus brief in the Fifth Circuit argues that tort remedies play an important role in the contract ecosystem, including promoting efficiency in exchanges; that a party who has been defrauded in the formation of a contract is not bound by contractual limitations on tort liability; and that worries about the tortification of contract law are overblown and out of date.