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Full-Text Articles in Law

Amending Corporate Charters And Bylaws, Albert H. Choi, Geeyoung Min Aug 2017

Amending Corporate Charters And Bylaws, Albert H. Choi, Geeyoung Min

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Recently, courts have embraced the contractarian theory that corporate charters and bylaws constitute a “contract” between the shareholders and the corporation and have been more willing to uphold bylaws unilaterally adopted by the directors. This paper examines the contractarian theory by drawing a parallel between amending charters and bylaws, on the one hand, and amending contracts, on the other. In particular, the paper compares the right to unilaterally amend corporate bylaws with the right to unilaterally modify contract terms, and highlights how contract law imposes various limitations on the modifying party’s discretion. More generally, when the relationship of contracting parties …


In Defense Of The Restatement Of Liability Insurance Law, Tom Baker, Kyle D. Logue Jan 2017

In Defense Of The Restatement Of Liability Insurance Law, Tom Baker, Kyle D. Logue

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For most non-contractual legal claims for damages that are brought against individuals or firms, there is some form of liability insurance coverage. The Restatement of the Law Liability Insurance is the American Law Institute’s first effort to “restate” the common law governing such liability insurance policies, and we are the reporters. In a recent essay funded by the insurance industry, Yale Law Professor George Priest launched a strident critique of the Restatement project, arguing that the rules adopted in the Restatement:

(a) are radically contrary to existing case law,

(b) have a naïve “pro-policyholder” bias that ignores basic economic insights …


Bankruptcy On The Side, Kenneth Ayotte, Anthony J. Casey, David A. Skeel Jr. Jan 2017

Bankruptcy On The Side, Kenneth Ayotte, Anthony J. Casey, David A. Skeel Jr.

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This article provides a framework for analyzing side agreements in corporate bankruptcy, such as intercreditor and “bad boy” agreements. These agreements are controversial because they commonly include a promise by one party to remain silent – to waive some procedural right they would otherwise have under the Bankruptcy Code – at potentially crucial points in the reorganization process.

Using simplified examples, we show that side agreements create benefits in some instances, but parties to a side agreement may have incentive to contract for specific performance or excessive stipulated damages that impose negative externalities on non-parties to the agreement. A promise …


The Perverse Consequences Of Disclosing Standard Terms, Tess Wilkinson-Ryan Jan 2017

The Perverse Consequences Of Disclosing Standard Terms, Tess Wilkinson-Ryan

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Although assent is the doctrinal and theoretical hallmark of contract, its relevance for form contracts has been drastically undermined by the overwhelming evidence that no one reads standard terms. Until now, most political and academic discussions of this phenomenon have acknowledged the truth of universally unread contracts, but have assumed that even unread terms are at best potentially helpful, and at worst harmless. This Article makes the empirical case that unread terms are not a neutral part of American commerce; instead, the mere fact of fine print inhibits reasonable challenges to unfair deals. The experimental study reported here tests the …


Contract Consideration And Behavior, David A. Hoffman, Zev. J. Eigen Jan 2017

Contract Consideration And Behavior, David A. Hoffman, Zev. J. Eigen

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Contract recitals are ubiquitous. Yet, we have a thin understanding of how individuals behave with respect to these doctrinally important relics. Most jurists follow Lon Fuller in concluding that when read, contract recitals accomplish their purpose: to caution against inconsiderate contractual obligation. Notwithstanding the foundational role that this assumption has played in doctrinal and theoretical debates, it has not been tested. This Article offers what we believe to be the first experimental evidence of the effects of formal recitals of contract obligation — and, importantly too, disclaimers of contractual obligation — on individual behavior. In a series of online experiments, …