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Fit For Its Ordinary Purpose: Implied Warranties And Common Law Duties For Consumer Finance Contracts, Susan Block-Lieb, Edward J. Janger Jan 2022

Fit For Its Ordinary Purpose: Implied Warranties And Common Law Duties For Consumer Finance Contracts, Susan Block-Lieb, Edward J. Janger

Faculty Scholarship

The history of consumer goods and consumer credit markets presents an anomaly: market transactions for consumer goods and credit transactions evolved in tandem, from face-to-face and bespoke to standardized and widely distributed; the law governing these twin "product" markets has not. With consumer goods, the Uniform Commercial Code codifies implied warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose and the common law of tort provides strict liability for defective products. By contrast, with consumer finance contracts, borrowers enjoy scant common law protection, even though both consumer goods and consumer contracts maybe be dangerously defective "products."

This Article reconsiders the ...


The Uniform Commercial Code Survey: Introduction, Jennifer S. Martin, Colin P. Marks, Wayne Barnes Oct 2021

The Uniform Commercial Code Survey: Introduction, Jennifer S. Martin, Colin P. Marks, Wayne Barnes

Faculty Scholarship

The survey that follows highlights the most important developments of 2020 dealing with domestic and international sales of goods, personal property leases, payments, letters of credit, documents of title. investment securities, and secured transactions.


The Contract Interpretation Policy Debate: A Primer, Joshua M. Silverstein Feb 2021

The Contract Interpretation Policy Debate: A Primer, Joshua M. Silverstein

Faculty Scholarship

Contract interpretation is one of the most significant areas of commercial law. As a result, there is an extensive academic and judicial debate over the optimal method for construing agreements. Throughout this exchange, scholars and courts have advanced a wide array of conceptual, theoretical, and empirical arguments in support of the two primary schools of interpretation— textualism and contextualism—as well as various hybrid positions. This Essay is intended to serve as a primer on those arguments.


Contract's Influence On Feminism And Vice Versa, Martha M. Ertman Jan 2021

Contract's Influence On Feminism And Vice Versa, Martha M. Ertman

Faculty Scholarship

Feminist legal theory has both embraced and rejected contract. While contract-based conceptual and doctrinal tools have improved women’s economic and social status, feminists also critique contract-based reforms for colluding with hierarchies of gender, race and class. This chapter charts influential work on both sides of the contract debate and identifies a third approach that sees contract as a mechanism for law to move away from a hierarchal regime by stopping at a contractual way station en route to a more equal system of public ordering. It concludes by identifying ways that feminist legal theorists have injected feminist insights into ...


Foreword, Jennifer Taub Jan 2021

Foreword, Jennifer Taub

Faculty Scholarship

This Foreword highlights the central points of the Articles in Volume 43, Issue 1 of Western New England Law Review. The Article topics include emotional support animals, distribution rights for small beer brewers, fairness in accident insurance coverage, alternative legal education materials, and custody challenges for parents with abusive partners. Each share the identification of a perceived problem with the legal status quo and presents proposed solutions.


Let's Get Serious - The Clear Case For Compensating The Student Athlete - By The Numbers - A University Of Michigan Athletic Program Case Study, Neal Newman Jan 2021

Let's Get Serious - The Clear Case For Compensating The Student Athlete - By The Numbers - A University Of Michigan Athletic Program Case Study, Neal Newman

Faculty Scholarship

Should college athletes be compensated for their play and if so, how? The first question has been a debate for some time now. But the second question—the “how”—not so much. This writing addresses both questions in depth. With the Ed O’Bannon case that was decided back in August of 2014 and the palaver the Northwestern football team raised in their efforts to unionize, it is acknowledged that the discussions on this issue may have reached its crescendo years ago. That is until now. On September 27, 2019, Gavin Newsom, the Governor of California, signed into law Senate ...


The Domains Of Loyalty: Relationships Between Fiduciary Obligation And Intrinsic Motivation, Deborah A. Demott Jan 2021

The Domains Of Loyalty: Relationships Between Fiduciary Obligation And Intrinsic Motivation, Deborah A. Demott

Faculty Scholarship

Recent scholarly inquiry into fiduciary law predominantly focuses on whether the subject is a coherent field and not a piecemeal assortment of doctrinal detail. This Article looks to the future and to relationships between the formal domain of fiduciary law and other factors that shape conduct. These include intrinsic motivation, markets for professional services, and forces like the operation of reputation. The Article demonstrates that looking across domains, from the legal to the extralegal, casts in sharp relief the reasons why fiduciary law is distinctive. These stem from the specific qualities of relationships to which fiduciary law applies, as well ...


The Cost Of Guilty Breach: Willful Breach In M&A Contracts, Theresa Arnold, Amanda Dixon, Madison Whalen Sherrill, Hadar Tanne, Mitu Gulati Jan 2021

The Cost Of Guilty Breach: Willful Breach In M&A Contracts, Theresa Arnold, Amanda Dixon, Madison Whalen Sherrill, Hadar Tanne, Mitu Gulati

Faculty Scholarship

The traditional framework of United States private law that every first-year student learns is that contracts and torts are different realms—contracts is the realm of strict liability and torts of fault. Contracts, we learn from the writings of Justice Holmes and Judge Posner, are best viewed as options; they give parties the option to perform or pay damages. The question we ask is whether, in the real world, that is indeed how contracting parties view things. Using a dataset made up of one thousand mergers and acquisitions (M&A) contracts and thirty in-depth interviews with M&A lawyers, we ...


Contractual Evolution, Matthew Jennejohn, Julian Nyarko, Eric L. Talley Jan 2021

Contractual Evolution, Matthew Jennejohn, Julian Nyarko, Eric L. Talley

Faculty Scholarship

Conventional wisdom portrays contracts as static distillations of parties’ shared intent at some discrete point in time. In reality, however, contract terms evolve in response to their environments, including new laws, legal interpretations, and economic shocks. While several legal scholars have offered stylized accounts of this evolutionary process, we still lack a coherent, general theory that broadly captures the dynamics of real-world contracting practice. This paper advances such a theory, in which the evolution of contract terms is a byproduct of several key features, including efficiency concerns, information, and sequential learning by attorneys who negotiate several deals over time. Each ...


Obsolescence: The Intractable Production Problem In Contract Law, Alan Schwartz, Robert E. Scott Jan 2021

Obsolescence: The Intractable Production Problem In Contract Law, Alan Schwartz, Robert E. Scott

Faculty Scholarship

Contract law has long suffered from an institutional problem: Which legal institution can best create an efficient law for commercial contracts that can overcome "obsolescence” – the persistence of rules that only solve yesterday’s contracting problems? Until the early 20th century, contract law was largely created by common law courts. The law's default rules were efficient when created and courts updated them as commerce changed. But there were few rules and the common law process is slow. In response, the 20th century saw public and private lawmaking bodies enact commercial statutes in discrete legal areas such as secured credit ...


Can Contract Emancipate? Contract Theory And The Law Of Work, Hanoch Dagan, Michael A. Heller Jan 2021

Can Contract Emancipate? Contract Theory And The Law Of Work, Hanoch Dagan, Michael A. Heller

Faculty Scholarship

Contract and employment law have grown apart. Long ago, each side gave up on the other. In this Article, we re-unite them to the betterment of both. In brief, we demonstrate the emancipatory potential of contract for the law of work.

Today, the dominant contract theories assume a widget transaction between substantively equal parties. If this were an accurate description of what contract is, then contract law would be right to expel workers. Worker protections would indeed be better regulated by – and relegated to – employment and labor law. But contract law is not what contract theorists claim. Neither is contract ...


Investigating The Contract Production Process, Stephen J. Choi, Robert E. Scott, G. Mitu Gulati Jan 2021

Investigating The Contract Production Process, Stephen J. Choi, Robert E. Scott, G. Mitu Gulati

Faculty Scholarship

Contract law and theory have traditionally paid little attention to the processes by which contracts are made. Instead, contracts among sophisticated parties are assumed to be full articulations of the desires of the parties; whatever the process, the outcome is the same. This article compares sovereign debt contracts from US and UK firms, with different production processes, that are trying to do the same thing under very similar legal regimes. We find that that the production process likely matters quite a bit to the final form that contracts take.


The Judicial Admissions Exception To The Statute Of Frauds: A Curiously Gradual Adoption, Wayne Barnes Dec 2020

The Judicial Admissions Exception To The Statute Of Frauds: A Curiously Gradual Adoption, Wayne Barnes

Faculty Scholarship

The statute of frauds requires certain categories of contracts to be evidenced by a signed writing. The original purpose of the statute of frauds, indeed its titular purpose, is the prevention of the fraudulent assertion of a non-existent oral contract. Although a signed writing is the formal way in which to satisfy the statute of frauds, courts have long recognized various exceptions to the writing requirement which will be held to satisfy the statute absent a writing. The effect of such exceptions is that they constitute an alternative form of evidence for the presence of a contract. One such exception ...


The Uniform Commercial Code Survey: Introduction, Jennifer S. Martin, Colin P. Marks, Wayne Barnes Oct 2020

The Uniform Commercial Code Survey: Introduction, Jennifer S. Martin, Colin P. Marks, Wayne Barnes

Faculty Scholarship

The survey that follows highlights the most important developments of 2019 dealing with domestic and international sales of goods, personal property leases, payments, letters of credit, documents of title, investment securities, and secured transactions.


Revisiting A Classic Problem In Statutory Interpretation: Is A Minister A Laborer?, Lawrence Solan, Tammy Gales Apr 2020

Revisiting A Classic Problem In Statutory Interpretation: Is A Minister A Laborer?, Lawrence Solan, Tammy Gales

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Contract Interpretation And The Parol Evidence Rule: Toward Conceptual Clarification, Joshua M. Silverstein Jan 2020

Contract Interpretation And The Parol Evidence Rule: Toward Conceptual Clarification, Joshua M. Silverstein

Faculty Scholarship

Contract interpretation is one of the most important topics in commercial law. Unfortunately, the law of interpretation is extraordinarily convoluted. In essentially every American state, the jurisprudence is riddled with inconsistency and ambiguity. This causes multiple problems. Contracting parties are forced to expend additional resources when negotiating and drafting agreements. Disputes over contractual meaning are more likely to end up in litigation. And courts make a greater number of errors in the interpretive process. Together, these impacts result in significant unfairness and undermine economic efficiency. Efforts to remedy the doctrinal incoherence are thus warranted.

The goal of this Article is ...


The Myth Of Optimal Expectation Damages, Theresa Arnold, Amanda Dixon, Madison Sherrill, Mitu Gulati Jan 2020

The Myth Of Optimal Expectation Damages, Theresa Arnold, Amanda Dixon, Madison Sherrill, Mitu Gulati

Faculty Scholarship

A much-debated question in contract law scholarship is what the optimal measure of damages for breach should be. The casebook answer-drawing from the theory of efficient breach-is expectation damages. This standard answer, which was a major contribution of the law and economics field, has come under attack by theoreticians within that field itself. To shed an empirical perspective on the question, we look at data on the types of damages provisions parties contract/or themselves in international debt contracts. Specifically, we examine issuer call provisions, which are economically equivalent to damages for prepayment, yet not viewed as legally problematic in ...


Anticipating Venezuela’S Debt Crisis: Hidden Holdouts And The Problem Of Pricing Collective Action Clauses, Robert E. Scott, Stephen J. Choi, Mitu Gulati Jan 2020

Anticipating Venezuela’S Debt Crisis: Hidden Holdouts And The Problem Of Pricing Collective Action Clauses, Robert E. Scott, Stephen J. Choi, Mitu Gulati

Faculty Scholarship

A creditor who asks for stronger enforcement rights upon its debtor’s default will rationally accept a lower interest rate reflecting the greater expected recovery the exercise of those rights provides. Over a dozen studies, however, have failed to document this basic relationship in the context of the collective action clause, a key provision in sovereign bonds. We conjecture that this failure is because enforcing the rights in question requires collective decision-making among anonymous creditors with different interests, impeding market predictions regarding future price effects. The pricing of rights that require collective enforcement thus turns on whether the market observes ...


Revising Boilerplate: A Comparison Of Private And Public Company Transactions, Robert E. Scott, Stephen J. Choi, Mitu Gulati Jan 2020

Revising Boilerplate: A Comparison Of Private And Public Company Transactions, Robert E. Scott, Stephen J. Choi, Mitu Gulati

Faculty Scholarship

The phenomenon of “sticky boilerplate” causing inefficient contract terms to persist exists across a variety of commercial contract types. One explanation for this failure to revise suboptimal terms is that the key agents on these transactions, including attorneys and investment bankers, are short sighted; their incentives are to get the deal done rather than ensure that they are using the best terms possible for their clients. Moreover, these agents face a first mover disadvantage that deters unilateral revisions to inefficient terms. If agency costs are indeed driving the stickiness phenomenon, we expect that the pace of revision will vary across ...


Anticipating Procedural Innovation: How And When Parties Calibrate Procedure Through Contract, Henry Allen Blair Jan 2020

Anticipating Procedural Innovation: How And When Parties Calibrate Procedure Through Contract, Henry Allen Blair

Faculty Scholarship

Despite a vast literature on contract theory, scholars are only just scratching the surface of understanding how parties design their contracts in the real world. This shortfall is particularly true of procedural customizations. Contrary to some early commentators’ estimates, in a small but significant set of circumstances, parties engage in a diverse range of procedural customization. To date, however, scholars have struggled to identify and explain the patterns of ex ante procedural contracting.

This Article argues that the first step toward understanding how transactional attorneys harness the potential of procedural autonomy is to recognize that procedural customization functions most effectively ...


Revising Boilerplate: A Comparison Of Private And Public Company Transactions, Stephen J. Choi, Robert E. Scott, G. Mitu Gulati Jan 2020

Revising Boilerplate: A Comparison Of Private And Public Company Transactions, Stephen J. Choi, Robert E. Scott, G. Mitu Gulati

Faculty Scholarship

The textbook model of commercial contracts between sophisticated parties holds that terms are proposed, negotiated and ultimately priced by the parties. Parties reach agreement on contract provisions that best suit their transaction with the goal of maximizing the joint surplus from the contract. The reality, of course, is that the majority of the provisions in contemporary commercial contracts are boilerplate terms derived from prior transactions and even the most sophisticated contracting parties pay little attention to these standard terms, focusing instead on the price of the transaction. With standard-form or boilerplate contracts, this dynamic of replicating by rote the terms ...


Innovation Versus Encrustation: Agency Costs In Contract Reproduction, Stephen J. Choi, Mitu Gulati, Robert E. Scott Jan 2020

Innovation Versus Encrustation: Agency Costs In Contract Reproduction, Stephen J. Choi, Mitu Gulati, Robert E. Scott

Faculty Scholarship

This article studies the impact of exogenous legal change on whether and how lawyers across four different deal types revise their contracts’ governing law clauses in order to solve the problem that the legal change created. The governing law clause is present in practically every contract across a wide range of industries and, in particular, it appears in deals as disparate as private equity M&A transactions and sovereign bond issuances. Properly drafted, the clause increases the ex ante economic value of the contract to both parties by reducing uncertainty and litigation risk. We posit that different levels of agency ...


The Economics Of Leasing, Thomas W. Merrill Jan 2020

The Economics Of Leasing, Thomas W. Merrill

Faculty Scholarship

Leasing may be the most important legal institution that has received virtually no systematic scholarly attention. Real property leasing is familiar in the context of residential tenancies. But it is also widely used in commercial contexts, including office buildings and shopping centers. Personal property leasing, which was rarely encountered before World War II, has more recently exploded on a world-wide basis, with everything from autos to farm equipment to airplanes being leased. This article seeks to develop a composite picture of the defining features of leases and why leasing is such a widespread and highly successful economic institution. The reasons ...


Lying And Cheating, Or Self-Help And Civil-Disobedience?, Aditi Bagchi Jan 2020

Lying And Cheating, Or Self-Help And Civil-Disobedience?, Aditi Bagchi

Faculty Scholarship

May poor sellers lie to rich buyers? This article argues that, under limited circumstances, sellers may indeed have a license to lie about their goods. Where sellers are losers under unjust background institutions and they reasonably believe that buyers have more than they would under just institutions, lies that result in de minimum transfers can be regarded as a kind of self-help. More generally, what we owe each other in our interpersonal interactions depends on the institutional backdrop. Consumer contract law, including its enforcement regimes, should recognize the social and political contingency of sellers’ obligations to buyers. In other contexts ...


Interpreting Contracts In A Regulatory State, Aditi Bagchi Jan 2020

Interpreting Contracts In A Regulatory State, Aditi Bagchi

Faculty Scholarship

Some scholars would limit courts to the text of written agreements when interpreting contracts on the theory that parties meant what they said, and said what they meant. Other scholars would have courts take into account the factual context surrounding contract formation. Both sides of this debate assume that contract interpretation is largely limited to reconstructing contracting parties’ intentions.

This assumption is mistaken. Since the overturning of Lochner v New York, contracting parties no longer have exclusive authority over contracts. State authority to regulate contract came at the expense of unbridled private authority. A more limited conception of contracting parties ...


Rule By Data: The End Of Markets?, Katharina Pistor Jan 2020

Rule By Data: The End Of Markets?, Katharina Pistor

Faculty Scholarship

This Article explores data as a source and, in their processed variant, as a means of governance that will likely replace both markets and the law. Discussing data not as an object of transactions or an object of governance, but as a tool for governing others on a scale that rivals that of nation states with their law, seems a fitting topic for a special issue that is devoted to the legal construction of markets. Here, I argue that while it may well be the case that law constitutes markets, markets are not the only way in which economic relations ...


On Trust, Law, And Expecting The Worst, Elizabeth F. Emens Jan 2020

On Trust, Law, And Expecting The Worst, Elizabeth F. Emens

Faculty Scholarship

This Review has three parts. Part I aims to convey something of the breadth and interest of Hasday’s fascinating new book, foregrounding the role of gender and beginning to touch the subject of trust. Part II delves briefly but widely into the theme of trust, which pervades the book and invites further examination. Part III presents a framework that combines affective trust and epistemic curiosity and applies this framework to illuminate and sort Hasday’s proposals for reform; to critique a recent, dramatic change in the evidentiary treatment of marital confidences; and to devise a novel approach to prenuptial ...


Some Issues On The Law Of Direct Damages (Us And Uk), Victor P. Goldberg Jan 2020

Some Issues On The Law Of Direct Damages (Us And Uk), Victor P. Goldberg

Faculty Scholarship

When a contract is breached, both U.S. and U.K. law provide that the non-breaching party should be made whole. The Uniform Commercial Code (“UCC”) provides that “[t]he remedies provided by this Act shall be liberally administered to the end that the aggrieved party may be put in as good a position as if the other party had fully performed.” The English version, going back to Robinson v. Harman, is “that where a party sustains a loss by reason of breach of contract, he is, so far as money can do it, to be placed in the same ...


Specific Performance, Hanoch Dagan, Michael A. Heller Jan 2020

Specific Performance, Hanoch Dagan, Michael A. Heller

Faculty Scholarship

When should specific performance be available for breach of contract? This question has engaged generations of legal economists and philosophers, historians and comparativists. Yet none of these disciplines have provided a persuasive answer. This Article provides a normatively-attractive and conceptually-coherent account. Respect for the autonomy of the promisor’s future self explains why expectation damages are, and should be, the ordinary remedy for contract breach. Also, this same normative commitment to the contracting parties’ autonomy best justifies the “uniqueness exception,” where specific performance is typically awarded, and the personal services exclusion, where it is not. For the most part, the ...


Foreign Contracts And U.S. Copyright Termination Rights: What Law Applies? – Comment, Richard Arnold, Jane C. Ginsburg Jan 2020

Foreign Contracts And U.S. Copyright Termination Rights: What Law Applies? – Comment, Richard Arnold, Jane C. Ginsburg

Faculty Scholarship

The U.S. Copyright Act gives authors the right to terminate assignments of copyrights in works other than works for hire executed on or after 1 January 1978 after 35 years, and to do so notwithstanding any agreement to the contrary. Given that agreements which are subject to the laws of other countries can assign U.S. copyrights, and purport to do so in perpetuity, U.S. law’s preclusion of agreements contrary to the author’s right to exercise her termination right can give rise to a difficult choice of law issue. Two recent cases which came before courts ...