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Contract terms

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Full-Text Articles in Law

The Economics Of Class Action Waivers, Albert H. Choi, Kathryn E. Spier Mar 2021

The Economics Of Class Action Waivers, Albert H. Choi, Kathryn E. Spier

Articles

Many firms require consumers, employees, and suppliers to sign class action waivers as a condition of doing business with the firm, and the U.S. Supreme Court has endorsed companies’ ability to block class actions through mandatory individual arbitration clauses. Are class action waivers serving the interests of society or are they facilitating socially harmful business practices? This paper synthesizes and extends the existing law and economics literature by analyzing the firms’ incentive to impose class action waivers. While in many settings the firms’ incentive to block class actions may be aligned with maximizing social welfare, in many other settings it …


Making Employment Arbitration Fair And Accessible, Theodore J. St. Antoine May 2020

Making Employment Arbitration Fair And Accessible, Theodore J. St. Antoine

Articles

Mandatory arbitration agreements require employees, as a condition of employment, to agree to arbitrate all employment disputes instead of filing court suits. The Supreme Court has approved such agreements but many labor experts oppose them. The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a bill to prohibit pre-dispute agreements, the common form for mandatory arbitrations. This article argues that the House bill would have the practical effect of virtually eliminating employment arbitration. Instead, proposals are presented for either legislative or judicial steps to ensure that employment arbitration is fair and accessible. Requirements would include: (1) voluntary agreements on the part of …


Designing And Enforcing Preliminary Agreements, Albert H. Choi, George Triantis Feb 2020

Designing And Enforcing Preliminary Agreements, Albert H. Choi, George Triantis

Articles

Preliminary agreements—variously labeled as memoranda of understanding, letters of intent, term sheets, commitment letters, or agreements in principle—are common in complex business transactions. They document an incomplete set of terms that the parties have agreed upon, while anticipating further negotiation of the remaining provisions. They often create legal obligations, particularly a duty to negotiate in good faith. This duty has been the subject of a substantial number of judicial opinions over the past few decades and yet continues to be regarded as a confusing and unpredictable issue in contract law. Legal scholarship is hamstrung in its analysis of the case …


The Best Of Times And The Worst Of Times: The Current Landscape Of Mandatory Arbitration Clause Enforcement In Domestic Arbitration, Virginia Neisler Feb 2019

The Best Of Times And The Worst Of Times: The Current Landscape Of Mandatory Arbitration Clause Enforcement In Domestic Arbitration, Virginia Neisler

Law Librarian Scholarship

There is nothing new about arbi­tration, a method of alternative dispute resolution designed to settle disputes more efficiently, cheaper, and faster than litigation. Today, mandatory arbitration clauses are ubiquitous in commercial contracts, social media terms and conditions, employment contracts, and more. These contracts, where one party in the weaker position (often a consumer or an employee) must either accept or reject the terms as written with no power to negotiate, are known as contracts of adhesion. The widespread use of arbitration clauses—specifically, pre­dispute, forced arbitration agreements, often including class­action waiv ers found in adhesion contracts—has come under pressure.


Contracts Ex Machina, Kevin Werbach, Nicolas Cornell Nov 2017

Contracts Ex Machina, Kevin Werbach, Nicolas Cornell

Articles

Smart contracts are self-executing digital transactions using decentralized cryptographic mechanisms for enforcement. They were theorized more than twenty years ago, but the recent development of Bitcoin and blockchain technologies has rekindled excitement about their potential among technologists and industry. Startup companies and major enterprises alike are now developing smart contract solutions for an array of markets, purporting to offer a digital bypass around traditional contract law. For legal scholars, smart contracts pose a significant question: Do smart contracts offer a superior solution to the problems that contract law addresses? In this article, we aim to understand both the potential and …


Mandatory Arbitration In Consumer Finance And Investor Contracts, Michael S. Barr Jan 2017

Mandatory Arbitration In Consumer Finance And Investor Contracts, Michael S. Barr

Book Chapters

This chapter focuses on the use of mandatory pre-dispute arbitration clauses in a subset of consumer contracts – those involving consumer finance and investor products and services. Arbitration clauses are pervasive in financial contracts – for credit cards, bank accounts, auto loans, broker-dealer services, and many others. In the wake of the recent financial crisis, Congress enacted the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 (Dodd-Frank). Dodd-Frank authorises the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to prohibit or condition the use of arbitration clauses in consumer finance and investment contracts, …


Understanding Noncompetition Agreements: The 2014 Noncompete Survey Project, J. J. Prescott, Norman D. Bishara, Evan Starr Apr 2016

Understanding Noncompetition Agreements: The 2014 Noncompete Survey Project, J. J. Prescott, Norman D. Bishara, Evan Starr

Articles

In recent years, scholars and policymakers have devoted considerable attention to the potential consequences of employment noncompetition agreements and to whether legislatures ought to reform the laws that govern the enforcement of these controversial contractual provisions. Unfortunately, much of this interest—and the content of proposed reforms—derives from anecdotal tales of burdensome noncompetes among low-wage workers and from scholarship that is either limited to slivers of the population (across all studies, less than 1%) or relies on strong assumptions about the incidence of noncompetition agreements. Better understanding of the use of noncompetes and effective noncompetition law reform requires a more complete …


Mandatory Arbitration In Consumer Finance And Investor Contracts, Michael S. Barr Oct 2015

Mandatory Arbitration In Consumer Finance And Investor Contracts, Michael S. Barr

Articles

Mandatory pre-dispute arbitration clauses are pervasive in consumer financial and investor contracts—for credit cards, bank accounts, auto loans, broker-dealer services, and many others. These clauses often ill serve households. Consumers are typically presented with contracts on a “take it or leave it” basis, with no ability to negotiate over terms. Arbitration provisions are often not clearly disclosed, and in any event are not salient for consumers, who do not focus on the importance of the provision in the event that a dispute over the contract later arises, and who may misforecast the likelihood of being in such a dispute. The …


Frictions And The Persistence Of Inferior Contract Terms, Royce De R. Barondes Jan 2015

Frictions And The Persistence Of Inferior Contract Terms, Royce De R. Barondes

Faculty Publications

A rudimentary conceptualization of the development of ancillary contract terms would assert competition will result in terms that are joint-wealth-maximizing for merchants and customers. Building on developments in modeling frictions in markets, this article presents simple models of frictions in multi-period contracting as to ancillary contract terms. The modeling illustrates that, for plausible parameter estimates of frictions, combinations of switching costs and investigation costs may allow collectively inferior contract terms to persist in consumer transactions. The results are in harmony with recent evidence illustrating the infrequency with which consumers actually read contract terms. The modeling identifies circumstances where this opportunistic …


A Wrong Turn In History: Re-Understanding The Exclusionary Rule Against Prior Negotiations In Contractual Interpretation, Yihan Goh Jan 2014

A Wrong Turn In History: Re-Understanding The Exclusionary Rule Against Prior Negotiations In Contractual Interpretation, Yihan Goh

Research Collection Yong Pung How School Of Law

A reason justifying the exclusionary rule against prior negotiations in the interpretation of contracts is its longevity. Yet, the authorities commonly cited in support of the exclusionary rule are mostly traceable to Lord Wilberforce’s speech in the relatively recent case of Prenn v Simmonds. This article suggests that the law took a wrong turn in that case and caused later courts to support the exclusionary rule by recourse to policy-oriented justifications, instead of principle-based ones. The emphasis on policy-oriented justifications, and the recantation of Prenn v Simmonds as reason enough for the exclusionary rule, support an independent rule against prior …


Tactics And Terms In The Negotiation Of Electronic Resource Licenses, Kincaid C. Brown Jan 2008

Tactics And Terms In The Negotiation Of Electronic Resource Licenses, Kincaid C. Brown

Law Librarian Scholarship

This chapter introduces the reader to the realm of electronic resource license agreements. It provides the reader with an overview of basic contract law as it relates to electronic resource licensing. The chapter then discusses the electronic resource license negotiation process as well as license agreement term clauses. The aim of this chapter is to provide librarians with an understanding of basic licensing concepts and language in order to aid librarians in the review and negotiation of their own license agreements. The author hopes to impart lessons and tips he has learned in reviewing and negotiating license agreements with a …


Plain Meaning Vs. Broad Interpretation: How The Risk Of Opportunism Defeats A Unitary Default Rule For Interpretation, Juliet P. Kostritsky Jan 2007

Plain Meaning Vs. Broad Interpretation: How The Risk Of Opportunism Defeats A Unitary Default Rule For Interpretation, Juliet P. Kostritsky

Faculty Publications

The problem of contract interpretation presents courts with significant questions about the nature and methodology of judicial intervention into privately arranged affairs. The court often assumes an active role in interpreting the words of a written contract in part because words have more than one meaning or because a contract is incomplete. When a court chooses amongst variable meanings, or interprets contracts to craft limitations on parties' behavior when express limits do not exist, its choice must be then justified using a framework explored in this essay.

Traditionally, commentators have advocated one of two general approaches to supply the methodology …


The Search Interest In Contract, Joshua Fairfield Jan 2007

The Search Interest In Contract, Joshua Fairfield

Articles by Maurer Faculty

Parties often do not negotiate for contract terms. Instead, parties search for the products, terms, and contractual counterparties they desire. The traditional negotiation-centered view of contract leads courts to try to determine the meaning of the parties where no meaning was negotiated and to waste time determining the benefits of bargains that were never struck. Further, while courts have ample tools to validate specifically negotiated contract terms, they lack the tools to respond to searched-for terms. Although the law and literature have long recognized that there is a disconnect between the legal fictions of negotiation and the reality of contracting …


Boilerplate And Economic Power In Auto-Manufacturing Contracts, Omri Ben-Shahar, James J. White Jan 2007

Boilerplate And Economic Power In Auto-Manufacturing Contracts, Omri Ben-Shahar, James J. White

Book Chapters

This chapter examines the boilerplate contracts used by auto makers to procure parts from suppliers. It identifies drafting and negotiation techniques that are used to secure advantageous terms. It also explores some prominent specific arrangements as evidence that firms with bargaining power are exploiting their position to dictate self-serving but inefficient terms. Finally, it shows how standard contractual clauses solve the problem of ex-post hold-up by suppliers.


Preface: Or: A Boilerplate Introduction, Omri Ben-Shahar Jan 2007

Preface: Or: A Boilerplate Introduction, Omri Ben-Shahar

Book Chapters

It is tempting to open this volume with yet another "boilerplate" salute to the challenge that standard-form contracts pose for contract law doctrine. You may have seen many tributes to this fundamental problem. Ifi were to offer my own variation on this familiar introduction, I would have perhaps tried to come up with an original spin to induce you to read forward another paragraph or two. I would probably have talked about a major divide within contract law between the "law of negotiations" and "product regulation." The former is the body of doctrines that determine the legal consequences of bargaining …


On The Stickiness Of Default Rules, Omri Ben-Shahar, John A. E. Pottow Jan 2006

On The Stickiness Of Default Rules, Omri Ben-Shahar, John A. E. Pottow

Articles

It was once perceived, and still is commonly taught, that default rules in contract law must mimic efficient arrangements. Otherwise, these rules impose needless transaction costs upon parties who seek to opt out of them to reach more efficient positions. In settings where these costs are high, parties might find themselves "stuck" in a default, unable to reach the outcome that they prefer. The strong version of this account-that the only factor that can make an inefficient default rule stick is the direct cost of drafting a tailored provision-has been gradually reappraised. It is by now recognized that factors beyond …


Foreword [To Boilerplate: Foundations Of Market Contracts Symposium], Omri Ben-Shahar Jan 2006

Foreword [To Boilerplate: Foundations Of Market Contracts Symposium], Omri Ben-Shahar

Articles

It is tempting to open this symposium with yet another "boilerplate" salute to the challenge that standard-form contracts pose for contract law doctrine. You may have seen many tributes to this fundamental problem. If I were to offer my own variation on this familiar introduction, I would have perhaps tried to come up with an original spin to induce you to read forward another paragraph or two. I would probably have talked about a major divide within contract law between the "law of negotiations" and "product regulation." The former is the body of doctrines that determine the legal consequences of …


Boilerplate And Economic Power In Auto Manufacturing Contracts, Omri Ben-Shahar, James J. White Jan 2006

Boilerplate And Economic Power In Auto Manufacturing Contracts, Omri Ben-Shahar, James J. White

Articles

This Article is structured as follows. Part I compares the terms and conditions in the purchase orders of the Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and highlights important differences in the substance of these boilerplate provisions. It argues that these differences cannot be easily reconciled with the prediction that sophisticated parties draft the most efficient boilerplate terms. Part II examines how these forms are drafted, how their terms are negotiated, and how the OEMs guard their terms from erosion. It provides some insight on how tailoring occurs and how the internal organization of a party to a deal affects the terms that …


Forward [To Freedom From Contract Symposium], Omri Ben-Shahar Jan 2004

Forward [To Freedom From Contract Symposium], Omri Ben-Shahar

Articles

This Symposium explores freedom from contract. When I was preparing to travel from my home in Ann Arbor to the University of Wisconsin where this Symposium was to be held, my 9-year-old son asked where I was headed. I explained that a bunch of people and I were going to meet and talk about freedom from contract, but the boy seemed unsure what this exchange was going to be about. I tried to translate: "It is about making promises that you don't really have to keep." This sounded surprising to him. He raised an inquisitive brow, and I knew he …


Contracts Without Consent: Exploring A New Basis For Contractual Liability, Omri Ben-Shahar Jan 2004

Contracts Without Consent: Exploring A New Basis For Contractual Liability, Omri Ben-Shahar

Articles

This Essay explores an alternative to one of the pillars of contract law, that obligations arise only when there is "mutual assent "--when the parties reach consensus over the terms of the transaction. It explores a principle of "no-retraction," under which each party is obligated to terms it manifested and can retract only with some liability. In contrast to the all-or-nothing nature of the mutual assent regime, where preliminary forms of consent are either full-blown contracts or create no obligation, under the no-retraction regime, obligations emerge gradually, as the positions of the negotiating parties draw closer. Further, the no-retraction liability …


'Agreeing To Disagree': Filling Gaps In Deliberately Incomplete Contracts, Omri Ben-Shahar Jan 2004

'Agreeing To Disagree': Filling Gaps In Deliberately Incomplete Contracts, Omri Ben-Shahar

Articles

Incomplete contracts have always been viewed as raising the following challenge for contract law: does the incompleteness-or, "indefiniteness," as it is usually called-rise to such a level that renders the agreement legally unenforceable? When the indefiniteness concerns important terms, it is presumed that the parties have not reached an agreement to which they intend to be bound. This "fundamental policy" is the upshot of the view that "contracts should be made by the parties, not by the courts."' When, in contrast, the indefiniteness concerns less important terms, courts supplement the agreement with gap fillers and enforce the supplemented contract.


Contracting Under Amended 2-207 (Freedom From Contract Symposium), James J. White Jan 2004

Contracting Under Amended 2-207 (Freedom From Contract Symposium), James J. White

Articles

Amended Section 2-207 of the Uniform Commercial Code1 (the Code) states new contract rules. I call these "contract rules" to avoid the labels of contract formation and contract interpretation. These new rules cure many of the problems presented by current Section 2-2072 and remind courts that the purpose of Section 2-207 is to interpret a contract that has been made, not to see if a contract exists. One is tempted to label current Section 2-207 as a contract formation provision-and to some extent that would be right-but most of this Section's work has been in contract interpretation, not in contract …


Arbitration, Unconscionability, And Equilibrium: The Return Of Unconscionability Analysis As A Counterweight To Arbitration Formalism, Jeffrey W. Stempel Jan 2004

Arbitration, Unconscionability, And Equilibrium: The Return Of Unconscionability Analysis As A Counterweight To Arbitration Formalism, Jeffrey W. Stempel

Scholarly Works

However incomplete, unaggressive, or sub-optimal, unconscionability analysis of arbitration agreements has made something of a comeback in the late twentieth century and early twenty-first century. Just as nature abhors a vacuum, water seeks to be level, and ecosystems work to retain environmental stability, the legal system has witnessed an incremental effort by lower courts to soften the rough edges of the Supreme Court's pro-arbitration jurisprudence through rediscovery of what might be called the “unconscionability norm”--a collective judicial view as to what aspects of an arbitration arrangement are too unfair to merit judicial enforcement. In rediscovering and reinvigorating the unconscionability norm …


A Footnote For Jack Dawson, James J. White, David A. Peters Jan 2002

A Footnote For Jack Dawson, James J. White, David A. Peters

Articles

Jack Dawson, known to many at Michigan as Black Jack, taught at the Law School from 1927 to 1958. Much of his work was published in the Michigan Law Review, where he served as a student editor during the 1923-24 academic year. We revisit his work and provide a footnote to his elegant writing on mistake and supervening events. In Part I, we talk a little about Jack the man. In Part II, we recite the nature and significance of his scholarly work. Part III deals briefly with the cases decided in the last twenty years by American courts on …


Mandatory Arbitration: Bane Or Boon?, Theodore St. Antoine Jan 2000

Mandatory Arbitration: Bane Or Boon?, Theodore St. Antoine

Other Publications

Buy a new car that turns out to be a lemon and you may find you can't sue. Fine print in the sales contract often restricts you to arbitration. That means presenting your case before a private person instead of a judge and jury. And the arbitrator may be someone drawn from a panel compiled by the car seller.


The Tentative Case Against Flexibility In Commercial Law, Omri Ben-Shahar Jan 1999

The Tentative Case Against Flexibility In Commercial Law, Omri Ben-Shahar

Articles

Well-rooted in modern commercial law is the idea that the law and the obligations that it enforces should reflect the empirical reality of the relationship between the contracting parties. The Uniform Commercial Code ("Code") champions this tradition by viewing the performance practices formed among the parties throughout their interaction as a primary source for interpreting and supplementing their explicit contracts. The generous recognition of waiver and modifications, as well as the binding force the Code accords to course of performance, course of dealings, and customary trade usages, effectively permits unwritten commercial practices to vary and to erode explicit contractual provisions.


Form Contracts Under Revised Article 2 (Symposium: Consumer Protection And The Uniform Commercial Code), James J. White Jan 1997

Form Contracts Under Revised Article 2 (Symposium: Consumer Protection And The Uniform Commercial Code), James J. White

Articles

The current draft of section 2-206 in Revised Article 2 of the Uniform Commercial Code ("UCC") entitled "Consumer Contract: Standard Form"1 presents a unique and threatening challenge to the drafters of consumer form contracts. In earlier drafts, one part of the section applied to both to commercial contracts and consumer contracts. It required that "one manifest assent" to any form contract, commercial or consumer, in order for it to be binding.2 Bowing to commercial opposition in the most recent version, the drafters have omitted all reference to commercial contracts. As the section stands, it applies only to consumer contracts.


The Reunification Of Contract: The Objective Theory Of Consumer Form Contracts, Michael I. Meyerson May 1993

The Reunification Of Contract: The Objective Theory Of Consumer Form Contracts, Michael I. Meyerson

All Faculty Scholarship

Despite the ubiquitousness of standard form contracts in the world of consumer transactions, there is no consensus as to how these contracts ought to be constructed. Some courts continue to treat form contracts as if they were classically negotiated contracts. Others attempt in a variety of ways to factor in the reality that consumers entering into these contracts are not able to negotiate the terms and almost always sign these documents, which are presented on a take-it-or-leave-it basis, without reading them. This article posits that the cause of this continued confusion over form contracts is due to a basic failure …


Use And Non-Use Of Contract Law In Japan, Whitmore Gray Jan 1984

Use And Non-Use Of Contract Law In Japan, Whitmore Gray

Articles

This article first defines the scope of enquiry, then surveys some of the existing literature, and finally, presents the results of my preliminary survey interviews and questionnaire. It is my hope that it will serve as a basis form discussion leading to better definition of the problems for research in this area, and will suggest ways to proceed to gather the information necessary for more sophisticated exposition and commentary.


Enforcement Of A Promise In Modern American Law (Gendai Amerikaho Ni Okeru Yakusoku No Kyosei), Whitmore Gray Jan 1970

Enforcement Of A Promise In Modern American Law (Gendai Amerikaho Ni Okeru Yakusoku No Kyosei), Whitmore Gray

Articles

A series of seminar lectures given by Whitmore Gray in Tokyo, Japan during October 1968. Six articles were subsequently published in “Kaigai Shojihomu” (The International Business Law Bulletin) between July 1969 and May 1970.

The sixth and final installment describes the history of contractual enforcement in the U.S. and highlights changes introduced through adoption of the UCC.