Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

Law Commons

Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

Articles 1 - 30 of 89

Full-Text Articles in Law

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 …


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 …


A Comment On Colla And Gulati, Cheeky Contracting, Tess Wilkinson-Ryan May 2022

A Comment On Colla And Gulati, Cheeky Contracting, Tess Wilkinson-Ryan

All Faculty Scholarship

Colla and Gulati have identified a moment of disequilibrium in contract law and practice that tests the comfortable assumptions and taxonomies of contracts scholars. The dispute seems to pit the parties’ “real deal” against the paper deal, with attorneys for the creditors bewildered at Argentina’s novel and aggressive reading of its obligations. The focus of this commentary is, basically: How cheeky is cheeky?


A Comment On Hillman, Health Crises, David A. Hoffman Apr 2022

A Comment On Hillman, Health Crises, David A. Hoffman

All Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Nonparty Interests In Contract Law, Omri Ben-Shahar, David A. Hoffman, Cathy Hwang Feb 2022

Nonparty Interests In Contract Law, Omri Ben-Shahar, David A. Hoffman, Cathy Hwang

All Faculty Scholarship

Contract law has one overarching goal: to advance the legitimate interests of the contracting parties. For the most part, scholars, judges, and parties embrace this party primacy norm, recognizing only a few exceptions, such as mandatory rules that bar enforcement of agreements that harm others. This Article describes a distinct species of previously unnoticed contract law rules that advance nonparty interests, which it calls “nonparty defaults."

In doing so, this Article makes three contributions to the contract law literature. First, it identifies nonparty defaults as a judicial technique. It shows how courts deviate from the party primary norm with surprising …


Leases As Forms, David A. Hoffman, Anton Strezhnev Jan 2022

Leases As Forms, David A. Hoffman, Anton Strezhnev

All Faculty Scholarship

We offer the first large scale descriptive study of residential leases, based on a dataset of ~170,000 residential leases filed in support of over ~200,000 Philadelphia eviction proceedings from 2005 through 2019. These leases are highly likely to contain unenforceable terms, and their pro-landlord tilt has increased sharply over time. Matching leases with individual tenant characteristics, we show that unlawful terms are surprisingly likely to be associated with more expensive leaseholds in richer, whiter parts of the city. This result is linked to landlords' growing adoption of shared forms, originally created by non-profit landlord associations, and more recently available online …


Stealth Governance: Shareholder Agreements And Private Ordering, Jill E. Fisch Jan 2022

Stealth Governance: Shareholder Agreements And Private Ordering, Jill E. Fisch

All Faculty Scholarship

Corporate law has embraced private ordering -- tailoring a firm’s corporate governance to meet its individual needs. Firms are increasingly adopting firm-specific governance through dual-class voting structures, forum selection provisions and tailored limitations on the duty of loyalty. Courts have accepted these provisions as consistent with the contractual theory of the firm, and statutes, in many cases, explicitly endorse their use. Commentators too support private ordering for its capacity to facilitate innovation and enhance efficiency.

Private ordering typically occurs through firm-specific charter and bylaw provisions. VC-funded startups, however, frequently use an alternative tool – shareholder agreements. These agreements, which have …


The Social Cost Of Contract, David A. Hoffman, Cathy Hwang Jan 2021

The Social Cost Of Contract, David A. Hoffman, Cathy Hwang

All Faculty Scholarship

When private parties perform contracts, the public bears some of the costs. But what happens when society confronts unexpected contractual risks? During the COVID-19 pandemic, completing particular contracts—such as following through with weddings, conferences, and other large gatherings—will greatly increase the risk of rapidly spreading disease. A close reading of past cases illustrates that when social hazards sharply increase after formation, courts have sometimes rejected, reformed, and reinterpreted contracts so that parties who breach to reduce external harms are not left holding the bag.

This Essay builds on that observation in making two contributions. Theoretically, it characterizes contracts as bargains …


Uncertainty > Risk: Lessons For Legal Thought From The Insurance Runoff Market, Tom Baker Jan 2021

Uncertainty > Risk: Lessons For Legal Thought From The Insurance Runoff Market, Tom Baker

All Faculty Scholarship

Insurance ideas inform legal thought: from tort law, to health law and financial services regulation, to theories of distributive justice. Within that thought, insurance is conceived as an ideal type in which insurers distribute determinable risks through contracts that fix the parties’ obligations in advance. This ideal type has normative appeal, among other reasons because it explains how tort law might achieve in practice the objectives of tort theory. This ideal type also supports a restrictive vision of liability-based regulation that opposes expansions and supports cutbacks, on the grounds that uncertainty poses an existential threat to insurance markets.

Prior work …


Did The America Invents Act Change University Technology Transfer?, Cynthia L. Dahl Jan 2021

Did The America Invents Act Change University Technology Transfer?, Cynthia L. Dahl

All Faculty Scholarship

University technology transfer offices (TTOs) are the gatekeepers to groundbreaking innovations sparked in research laboratories around the U.S. With a business model reliant on patenting and licensing out for commercialization, TTOs were positioned for upheaval when the America Invents Act (AIA) transformed U.S. patent law in 2011. Now almost ten years later, this article examines the AIA’s actual effects on this patent-centric industry. It focuses on the five key areas of most interest to TTOs: i) first to file priority; ii) broadening of the universe of prior art; iii) carve-out to the prior commercial use defense; iv) micro-entity fees; and …


Competitive Harm From Vertical Mergers, Herbert J. Hovenkamp Oct 2020

Competitive Harm From Vertical Mergers, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

All Faculty Scholarship

The antitrust enforcement Agencies' 2020 Vertical Merger Guidelines introduce a nontechnical application of bargaining theory into the assessment of competitive effects from vertical acquisitions. The economics of such bargaining is complex and can produce skepticism among judges, who might regard its mathematics as overly technical, its game theory as excessively theoretical or speculative, or its assumptions as unrealistic.

However, we have been there before. The introduction of concentration indexes, particularly the HHI, in the Merger Guidelines was initially met with skepticism but gradually they were accepted as judges became more comfortable with them. The same thing very largely happened again …


Fiduciary Law And The Preservation Of Trust In Business Relationships, Brian J. Broughman, Elizabeth Pollman, D. Gordon Smith Aug 2020

Fiduciary Law And The Preservation Of Trust In Business Relationships, Brian J. Broughman, Elizabeth Pollman, D. Gordon Smith

All Faculty Scholarship

This chapter explores the role of mandatory fiduciary obligations in preserving trust between business parties. Because contracts are inevitably incomplete, after investment there is always a risk of opportunism. While the parties could try to draft a more detailed agreement prohibiting various forms of opportunism, the very act of haggling over such protections may signal distrust, eliciting costly reactions (defensive measures/hedging/lack of intrinsic motivation) in the counterparty. In the absence of fiduciary protections, a vulnerable party may decide to forgo important protections against opportunism, not because such protections are suboptimal or hard to specify ex ante but because bargaining for …


When Standards Collide With Intellectual Property: Teaching About Standard Setting Organizations, Technology, And Microsoft V. Motorola, Cynthia L. Dahl Jun 2020

When Standards Collide With Intellectual Property: Teaching About Standard Setting Organizations, Technology, And Microsoft V. Motorola, Cynthia L. Dahl

All Faculty Scholarship

Technology lawyers, intellectual property (IP) lawyers, or even any corporate lawyer with technology clients must understand standard essential patents (SEPs) and how their licensing works to effectively counsel their clients. Whether the client’s technology is adopted into a voluntary standard or not may be the most important factor in determining whether the company succeeds or is left behind in the market. Yet even though understanding SEPs is critical to a technology or IP practice, voluntary standards and specifically SEPs are generally not taught in law school.

This article aims to address this deficiency and create more practice-ready law school graduates. …


Surveying The Not Yet Dead: Comment On Hirsch’S Empirical Analysis Of Revival Of Wills, Jonathan Klick Jun 2020

Surveying The Not Yet Dead: Comment On Hirsch’S Empirical Analysis Of Revival Of Wills, Jonathan Klick

All Faculty Scholarship

Hirsch advocates using an empirically grounded presumption when handling the revival of wills problem. The empirical baseline, according to him, should match what most people think (rightly or wrongly) a court would do when the revival problem arises. Hirsch then presents survey evidence on people’s expectations in this setting. Hirsch’s proposal is completely sensible in principle, and there is no reason it should be restricted to the revival problem. The argument applies throughout the field of wills, trusts, and estates and maybe even the law more generally. In practice, however, defining the relevant population to survey could pose a problem.


Unwritten Rules And The New Contract Paradigm, David A. Skeel Jr. May 2020

Unwritten Rules And The New Contract Paradigm, David A. Skeel Jr.

All Faculty Scholarship

In a recent essay—part of a larger book project-- Douglas Baird contends that the standard accounts of the history of corporate reorganization miss an essential feature: the extent to which both current and prior practice have been governed by unwritten rules (such as full disclosure and the opportunity for each party to participate in the negotiations) that “are well-known to insiders, but largely invisible to those on the outside.” According to Professor Baird, the unwritten rules, not bankruptcy’s distribution provisions or other features of the Bankruptcy Code, are the essence of corporate reorganization.

This essay is a short response to …


Commercial Law Intersections, Giuliano Castellano, Andrea Tosato Apr 2020

Commercial Law Intersections, Giuliano Castellano, Andrea Tosato

All Faculty Scholarship

Commercial law is not a single, monolithic entity. It has grown into a dense thicket of subject-specific branches that govern a broad range of transactions and corporate actions. When one of these events falls concurrently within the purview of two or more of these commercial law branches - such as corporate law, intellectual property law, secured transactions law, conduct and prudential regulation - an overlap materializes. We refer to this legal phenomenon as a commercial law intersection (CLI). Some notable examples of transactions that feature CLIs include bank loans secured by shares, supply chain financing arrangements, patent cross-licensing, and blockchain-based …


Reviewing Inter Partes Review Five Years In: The View From University Technology Transfer Offices, Cynthia L. Dahl Jan 2020

Reviewing Inter Partes Review Five Years In: The View From University Technology Transfer Offices, Cynthia L. Dahl

All Faculty Scholarship

With the implementation of the inter partes review (IPR) proceeding under the America Invents Act in 2012, university technology transfer offices (TTOS) were worried that the value of their patents might be irreparably harmed. With IPR proceedings making patent challenges easy, relatively inexpensive, and a threat extending over the lifetime of a patent, TTOs wondered if IPRs might do nothing short of undermining their licensing business model.

However, although IPRs have irreparably changed the patent infringement landscape outside of the university setting, the effect on university patents has not been nearly as severe. This chapter explores why that might be …


Transactional Scripts In Contract Stacks, Shaanan Cohney, David A. Hoffman Jan 2020

Transactional Scripts In Contract Stacks, Shaanan Cohney, David A. Hoffman

All Faculty Scholarship

Deals accomplished through software persistently residing on computer networks—sometimes called smart contracts, but better termed transactional scripts—embody a potentially revolutionary contracting innovation. Ours is the first precise account in the legal literature of how such scripts are created, and when they produce errors of legal significance.

Scripts’ most celebrated use case is for transactions operating exclusively on public, permissionless, blockchains: such exchanges eliminate the need for trusted intermediaries and seem to permit parties to commit ex ante to automated performance. But public transactional scripts are costly both to develop and execute, with significant fees imposed for data storage. Worse, bugs …


Justifying Bad Deals, Tess Wilkinson-Ryan Jan 2020

Justifying Bad Deals, Tess Wilkinson-Ryan

All Faculty Scholarship

In the past decade, psychological and behavioral studies have found that individual commitment to contracts persists beyond personal relationships and traditional promises. Even take-it-or-leave it consumer contracts get substantial deference from consumers — even when the terms are unenforceable, even when the assent is procedurally compromised, and even when the drafter is an impersonal commercial actor. Indeed, there is mounting evidence that people import the morality of promise into situations that might otherwise be described as predatory, exploitative, or coercive. The purpose of this Article is to propose a framework for understanding what seems to be widespread acceptance of regulation …


Apple V. Pepper: Rationalizing Antitrust’S Indirect Purchaser Rule, Herbert J. Hovenkamp May 2019

Apple V. Pepper: Rationalizing Antitrust’S Indirect Purchaser Rule, Herbert J. Hovenkamp

All Faculty Scholarship

In Apple v. Pepper the Supreme Court held that consumers who allegedly paid too much for apps sold on Apple’s iStore could sue Apple for antitrust damages because they were “direct purchasers.” The decision reflects some bizarre complexities that have resulted from the Supreme Court’s 1977 decision in Illinois Brick, which held that only direct purchasers could sue for overcharge injuries under the federal antitrust laws. The indirect purchaser rule was problematic from the beginning. First, it was plainly inconsistent with the antitrust damages statute, which gives an action to “any person who shall be injured in his business …


Coin-Operated Capitalism, Shaanan Cohney, David A. Hoffman, Jeremy Sklaroff, David A. Wishnick Jan 2019

Coin-Operated Capitalism, Shaanan Cohney, David A. Hoffman, Jeremy Sklaroff, David A. Wishnick

All Faculty Scholarship

This Article presents the legal literature’s first detailed analysis of the inner workings of Initial Coin Offerings. We characterize the ICO as an example of financial innovation, placing it in kinship with venture capital contracting, asset securitization, and (obviously) the IPO. We also take the form seriously as an example of technological innovation, where promoters are beginning to effectuate their promises to investors through computer code, rather than traditional contract. To understand the dynamics of this shift, we first collect contracts, “white papers,” and other contract-like documents for the fifty top-grossing ICOs of 2017. We then analyze how such projects’ …


Intellectual Property: Ownership And Protection In A University Setting, Cynthia L. Dahl Jan 2019

Intellectual Property: Ownership And Protection In A University Setting, Cynthia L. Dahl

All Faculty Scholarship

Before an academic entrepreneur may protect or commercialize an invention, they must understand if they own the rights to it. This short chapter helps the inventor to consider the various scenarios that occur in a university setting. It advises the inventor how to seek a waiver from the university if they believe they are the true owner of the invention. If the facts indicate that the invention should be owned by the university, the chapter also discusses how a university decides to formally protect the invention through patent or copyright. Finally, the chapter advises the inventor how to stay involved …


Intellectual Property: Commercializing In A University Setting, Cynthia L. Dahl Jan 2019

Intellectual Property: Commercializing In A University Setting, Cynthia L. Dahl

All Faculty Scholarship

If an academic entrepreneur wants to commercialize their invention, they must first clarify who owns the invention, and then decide on the best commercialization possibility. This short chapter describes the various scenarios that might occur in a university setting. In most cases, a university will own the invention created by its researchers and faculty because of their employment. A university may then either license out the entrepreneur’s invention to a third-party company to further develop and commercialize, or may license the invention back to the entrepreneur so that they may commercialize it themselves through a start-up. Such license agreements will …


Back To The Future Of Cyber Insurance, Tom Baker Jan 2019

Back To The Future Of Cyber Insurance, Tom Baker

All Faculty Scholarship

Written for an insurance trade publication, this brief essay identifies five ways that insurers manage uncertainty in selling cyber insurance: (1) providing valuable services beyond risk transfer; (2) contract design, (3) rapid iteration of pricing and forms, (4) limits management and reinsurance, and (5) claims disputing. Cyber insurers provide easy-to-price loss prevention and mitigation services so that the value proposition includes more than the (difficult to price) risk transfer. Cyber insurers design their contracts to include narrowly defined categories of coverage, typically with separate limits and with claims-made coverage for liability risks, and traditional insurers design their contracts to limit …


Hushing Contracts, David A. Hoffman, Erik Lampmann Jan 2019

Hushing Contracts, David A. Hoffman, Erik Lampmann

All Faculty Scholarship

The last few years have brought a renewed appreciation of the costs of nondisclosure agreements that suppress information about sexual wrongdoing. Recently passed bills in a number of states, including New York and California, has attempted to deal with such hush contracts. But such legislation is often incomplete, and many courts and commentators continue to ask if victims of harassment can sign enforceable settlements that conceal serious, potentially metastasizing, social harms. In this Article, we argue that employing the public policy doctrine, courts ought to generally refuse to enforce hush agreements, especially those created by organizations. We restate public policy …


Smart Contracts And The Cost Of Inflexibility, Jeremy M. Sklaroff Jan 2018

Smart Contracts And The Cost Of Inflexibility, Jeremy M. Sklaroff

Prize Winning Papers

No abstract provided.


Relational Contracts Of Adhesion, David A. Hoffman Jan 2018

Relational Contracts Of Adhesion, David A. Hoffman

All Faculty Scholarship

Not all digital fine print exculpates liability: some exhorts users to perform before the consumer relationship has soured. We promise to choose strong passwords (and hold them private); to behave civilly on social networks; to refrain from streaming shows and sports; and to avoid reverse-engineering code (or, worse, deploying deadly bots). In short: consumers are apparently regulated by digital fine print, though it’s universally assumed we don’t read it, and even if we did, we’ll never be sued for failing to perform.

On reflection, this ordinary phenomenon is perplexing. Why would firms persist in deploying uncommunicative behavioral spurs? The conventional …


Baby M Turns 30: The Law And Policy Of Surrogate Motherhood, Eric A. Feldman Jan 2018

Baby M Turns 30: The Law And Policy Of Surrogate Motherhood, Eric A. Feldman

All Faculty Scholarship

This article marks the 30th anniversary of the Supreme Court of New Jersey’s Baby M decision by offering a critical analysis of surrogacy policy in the United States. Despite fundamental changes in both science and society since the case was decided, state courts and legislatures remain bitterly divided on the legality of surrogacy. In arguing for a more uniform, permissive legal posture toward surrogacy, the article addresses five central debates in the surrogacy literature.

First, should the legal system accommodate those seeking conception through surrogacy, or should it prohibit such arrangements? Second, if surrogacy is permitted, what steps can be …


Bankruptcy’S Uneasy Shift To A Contract Paradigm, David A. Skeel Jr., George Triantis Jan 2018

Bankruptcy’S Uneasy Shift To A Contract Paradigm, David A. Skeel Jr., George Triantis

All Faculty Scholarship

The most dramatic development in twenty-first century bankruptcy practice has been the increasing use of contracts to shape the bankruptcy process. To explain the new contract paradigm—our principal objective in this Article-- we begin by examining the structure of current bankruptcy law. Although the Bankruptcy Code of 1978 has long been viewed as mandatory, its voting and cramdown rules, among others, invite considerable contracting. The emerging paradigm is asymmetric, however. While the Code and bankruptcy practice allow for ex post contracting, ex ante contracts are viewed with suspicion.

We next use contract theory to assess the two modes of contracting. …