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Case Western Reserve University School of Law

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Efficient Contextualism, Peter M. Gerhart, Juliet P. Kostritsky Jan 2015

Efficient Contextualism, Peter M. Gerhart, Juliet P. Kostritsky

Faculty Publications

This Article recommends an economic methodology of contract interpretation that enables the court to maximize the benefits of exchange for the parties and thereby enhance the institution of contracting. We recommend a methodology that asks the parties to identify the determinants of a surplus maximizing interpretation so that the court can determine whether the determinants raise issues that need to be tried. We thus avoid the false choice between textualist and contextualist methodologies, while allowing the parties and the court to avoid costly litigation. For textualist courts, our methodology helps the judge determine when the terms the parties used are …