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Insurance Policies: The Grandparents Of Contractual Black Holes, Chris French Jan 2017

Insurance Policies: The Grandparents Of Contractual Black Holes, Chris French

Journal Articles

In their recent article, The Black Hole Problem in Commercial Boilerplate, Professors Stephen Choi, Mitu Gulati, and Robert Scott identify a phenomenon found in standardized contracts they describe as “contractual black holes.” The concept of black holes comes from theoretical physics. Under the original hypothesis, the gravitational pull of a black hole is so strong that once light or information is pulled past an event horizon into a black hole, it cannot escape. In recent years, the theory has been reformulated and now the hypothesis is that some information can escape, but it is so degraded that it is virtually ...


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

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

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 ...


Understanding Insurance Policies As Noncontracts: An Alternative Approach To Drafting And Construing These Unique Financial Instruments, Christopher French Dec 2016

Understanding Insurance Policies As Noncontracts: An Alternative Approach To Drafting And Construing These Unique Financial Instruments, Christopher French

Christopher C. French

Insurance policies commonly are understood to be a species of standardized contracts. This Article challenges that conventional wisdom and argues that insurance policies do not actually qualify as contracts under the doctrinal and theoretical bases of contract formation. It examines the process by which insurance policies are created and sold, and measures that process against the requirements for contract formation. This Article also distinguishes insurance policies from other types of standardized contracts, such as wrap agreements, which currently are the subject of much litigation and scholarly commentary. It then explores the doctrinal and theoretical bases underlying the specialized rules that ...


Insurance Policies: The Grandparents Of Contractual Black Holes, Christopher French Dec 2016

Insurance Policies: The Grandparents Of Contractual Black Holes, Christopher French

Christopher C. French

In their recent article, The Black Hole Problem in Commercial Boilerplate, Professors Stephen Choi, Mitu Gulati, and Robert Scott identify a phenomenon found in standardized contracts they describe as “contractual black holes.” The concept of black holes comes from theoretical physics. Under the original hypothesis, the gravitational pull of a black hole is so strong that once light or information is pulled past an event horizon into a black hole, it cannot escape. In recent years, the theory has been reformulated and now the hypothesis is that some information can escape, but it is so degraded that it is virtually ...