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Contracts

University of Connecticut

2009

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Full-Text Articles in Law

Wilfulness Versus Expectation: A Promise-Based Defense Of Wilfull Breach Doctrine, Peter Siegelman, Steven Thel Jan 2009

Wilfulness Versus Expectation: A Promise-Based Defense Of Wilfull Breach Doctrine, Peter Siegelman, Steven Thel

Faculty Articles and Papers

Willful breach doctrine should be a major embarrassment to contract law. If the default remedy for breach is expectation damages designed to put the injured promisee in the position she would have been in if the contract had been performed, then the promisor's behavior-the reason for the breach-looks to be irrelevant in assessing damages. And yet the cases are full of references to "willful" breaches, which seem often to be treated more harshly than ordinary ones based on the promisor's bad/willful conduct. Our explanation is that willful breaches are best understood as those that should be prevented or deterred because …