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Contracts

Contracts

St. John's University School of Law

Articles 1 - 7 of 7

Full-Text Articles in Law

Williston As Conservative-Pragmatist, Mark L. Movsesian Jan 2007

Williston As Conservative-Pragmatist, Mark L. Movsesian

Faculty Publications

In her pathbreaking article, "Restatement and Reform: A New Perspective on the Origins of the American Law Institute, Professor N.E.H. Hull rejects the conventional wisdom about the conservative, even reactionary, character of the First Restatements. The truth, she argues, is more subtle. The Restatements, and the larger ALI project of which they were a part, reflect the "'progressive-pragmatic"' worldview of the law professors most responsible for their creation. These professors were reformers. They rejected the formalism of earlier generations; for them, law was not a conceptual system but a practical tool for promoting beneficial social goals. They tempered ...


Formalism In American Contract Law: Classical And Contemporary, Mark L. Movsesian Jan 2006

Formalism In American Contract Law: Classical And Contemporary, Mark L. Movsesian

Faculty Publications

It is a universally acknowledged truth that we live in a formalist era—at least when it comes to American contract law. Much more than the jurisprudence of a generation ago, today's cutting-edge work in American contract scholarship values the formalist virtues of bright-line rules, objective interpretation, and party autonomy. Policing bargains for substantive fairness seems more and more an outdated notion. Courts, it is thought, should refrain from interfering with market exchanges. Private arbitration has displaced courts in the context of many traditional contract disputes. Even adhesion contracts find their defenders, much to the chagrin of communitarian scholars ...


Rediscovering Williston, Mark L. Movsesian Jan 2005

Rediscovering Williston, Mark L. Movsesian

Faculty Publications

This Article is an intellectual history of classical contracts scholar Samuel Williston. Professor Movsesian argues that the conventional account of Williston's jurisprudence presents an incomplete and distorted picture. While much of Williston's work can strike a contemporary reader as arid and conceptual, there are strong elements of pragmatism as well. Williston insists that doctrine be justified in terms of real-world consequences, maintains that rules can have only presumptive force, and offers institutional explanations for judicial restraint. As a result, his scholarship shares more in common with today's new formalism than commonly supposed. Even the under-theorized quality of ...


Two Cheers For Freedom Of Contract, Mark L. Movsesian Jan 2002

Two Cheers For Freedom Of Contract, Mark L. Movsesian

Faculty Publications

Once, they say, freedom of contract reigned in American law. Parties could make agreements on a wide variety of subjects and choose the terms they wished. Courts would refrain from questioning the substance of bargains and would ensure only that parties had observed the proper formalities. In interpretation, objectivity was paramount. Courts would seek to ascertain, not what the parties had intended, but what a reasonable observer would understand the parties' words to mean. Contract law was a series of abstractions informed by individual autonomy and judicial deference.

This world, a classical paradise of doctrines with sharp corners, began to ...


Tortious Interference And The Law Of Contract: The Case For Specific Performance Revisited, Deepa Varadarajan Jan 2001

Tortious Interference And The Law Of Contract: The Case For Specific Performance Revisited, Deepa Varadarajan

Faculty Publications

What is the role of contract law in remedying breach? The question of the appropriate legal remedy, specific performance versus money damages, has provided adequate fodder for three decades of debate in the law and economics discourse. In the legal discipline at large, the topic has spurred centuries of debate, as illustrated by Oliver Wendell Holmes's famous line: “The only universal consequence of a legally binding promise is, that the law makes the promisor pay damages if the promised event does not come to pass.” Holmes's approach to contractual remedy would evolve during the latter half of the ...


Are Statutes Really "Legislative Bargains"? The Failure Of The Contract Analogy In Statutory Interpretation, Mark L. Movsesian Jan 1998

Are Statutes Really "Legislative Bargains"? The Failure Of The Contract Analogy In Statutory Interpretation, Mark L. Movsesian

Faculty Publications

Recent scholarship draws an analogy between contract and statutory interpretation. In this Article, Professor Movsesian explores and rejects that analogy. There are key differences between contracts and statutes, he argues; the intentionalism of contemporary contract law is inappropriate in the context of statutory interpretation. After critically examining the literature on the topic and demonstrating the operative distinctions between contracts and statutes, Professor Movsesian provides a useful illustration in the form of the famous case of Church of the Holy Trinity v. United States. Professor Movsesian shows how a comparison of contract and statutory interpretation sheds light on a number of ...


Severability In Statutes And Contracts, Mark L. Movsesian Jan 1995

Severability In Statutes And Contracts, Mark L. Movsesian

Faculty Publications

Established doctrine on the severability of unconstitutional statutory provisions has drawn criticism on almost every conceivable basis. Commentators have condemned severability doctrine as too malleable and as too rigid; as encouraging judicial overreaching and as encouraging judicial abdication. They have criticized the doctrine's reliance on legislative intent and its disregard of legislative intent; its excessive attention to political concerns and its inattention to political concerns; its lack of any coherent explanation.

The reasons for this lingering controversy are easy to discern. One is purely pragmatic. "We live in an age of statutes." Legislation provides our primary source of law ...