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Full-Text Articles in Law

Boilerplate’S False Dichotomy, James Gibson Jan 2018

Boilerplate’S False Dichotomy, James Gibson

Law Faculty Publications

The argument against enforcing boilerplate contracts (contracts that no one reads) seems clear. Indeed, if this were a court case we would say that the jury is in; the evidence against boilerplate is overwhelming. Yet the judge has yet to render judgment. Courts continue to enforce boilerplate terms, and even those scholars who have exposed boilerplate as an emperor with no clothes are reluctant to gaze upon its nakedness and condemn its use.

This reluctance originates in an assumption that pervades the boilerplate debate—namely, that courts and commentators alike view boilerplate as necessary to the modern transaction. When asked to …


Bespoke Discovery, Jessica Erickson Jan 2018

Bespoke Discovery, Jessica Erickson

Law Faculty Publications

The U.S. legal system gives contracting parties significant freedom to customize the procedures that will govern their future disputes. With forum selection clauses, parties can decide where they will litigate future disputes. With fee-shifting provisions, they can choose who will pay for these suits. And with arbitration clauses, they can make upfront decisions to opt out of the traditional legal system altogether. Parties can also waive their right to appeal, their right to a jury trial, and their right to file a class action. Bespoke procedure, in other words, is commonplace in the United States.

Far less common, however, are …


An App For Third Party Beneficiaries, David G. Epstein Jan 2016

An App For Third Party Beneficiaries, David G. Epstein

Law Faculty Publications

Every year, more than 100 reported court opinions consider the question of whether an outsider can sue for damages under a contract made by others-in part because the law is so ambiguous. While contract enforcement by a third party is controlled largely by the facts of the particular case, it also materially depends upon the relevant legal standards. At present, not just the standards, but also the reasons for these standards, are unclear. Eighty years ago, Lon Fuller, a professor teaching contracts at a then-Southern law school, and William Perdue, a student at that school, significantly clarified and improved decision …


Internet Giants As Quasi-Governmental Actors And The Limits Of Contractual Consent, D. A. Jeremy Telman Jul 2015

Internet Giants As Quasi-Governmental Actors And The Limits Of Contractual Consent, D. A. Jeremy Telman

Law Faculty Publications

Although the government’s data-mining program relied heavily on information and technology that the government received from private companies, relatively little of the public outrage generated by Edward Snowden’s revelations was directed at those private companies. We argue that the mystique of the Internet giants and the myth of contractual consent combine to mute criticisms that otherwise might be directed at the real data-mining masterminds. As a result, consumers are deemed to have consented to the use of their private information in ways that they would not agree to had they known the purposes to which their information would be put …


Vertical Boilerplate, James Gibson May 2013

Vertical Boilerplate, James Gibson

Law Faculty Publications

Despite what we learn in law school about the “meeting of the minds,” most contracts are merely boilerplate—take-it-or-leave-it propositions. Negotiation is nonexistent; we rely on our collective market power as consumers to regulate contracts’ content. But boilerplate imposes certain information costs because it often arrives late in the transaction and is hard to understand. If those costs get too high, then the market mechanism fails. So how high are boilerplate’s information costs? A few studies have attempted to measure them, but they all use a “horizontal” approach—i.e., they sample a single stratum of boilerplate and assume that it represents the …


Narrative And The Origins Of Law, Allison Anna Tait, Luke P. Norris Jan 2011

Narrative And The Origins Of Law, Allison Anna Tait, Luke P. Norris

Law Faculty Publications

In order to understand these distinct narratives of legal origin through the tools of narratology, we will proceed in several steps. First, we will define more precisely the set of social contract theories that we consider. We will discuss our decision to narrow the focus down to two social contract theorists in particular, one contemporary and one classical, John Rawls and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. These two theorists seem worlds apart in many respects—yet the tools of narratology will enable us to see their shared enterprise. Second, the tools of narratology will help us to identify and discuss the component parts that …