ContractsProf Blog

Editor: Myanna Dellinger
University of South Dakota School of Law

Saturday, April 9, 2005

News in brief

Here's a stunner: A Chicago airport contract is going to a long-time friend of the mayor's.
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The Bank of Montreal says it will let its affinity credit card contract with am anti-abortion group lapse, after getting complaints by pro-abortion customers.
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The Boston Herald says it will terminate the freelance contract of a once-a-week op-ed columnist because he also got a freelance $10,000 contract with the Republican governor's office.
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Senator Christopher Dodd (D-Conn) says that his attempts to thwart award of a major helicopter contract to Lockheed Martin is "on the merits" and entirely unrelated to the fact that Lockheed's chief competitor, Sikorsky, is in his home state and was a campaign contributor.
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A prominent British soccer referee has been suspended for breach of contract, as a result of his involvement in an online racehorse syndicate.
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ChevronTexaco has awarded a $1.7 billion contract to build a new natural-gas-to-liquids plant in Nigeria, which will be one-fourth owned by the Nigerian government.

April 9, 2005 in In the News | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

St. John's client gets makeover

Good lawyers often come up with creative ways to solve their clients' problems, but the law clinic at St. John's law school really went outside the box to help 62-year-old Lucy Ali.  When a contractor stopped work after she'd paid it $71,000, the clinic got involved.  It probably won't get her money back -- the contractor is filing for bankruptcy -- but it did hook her up with the TV program Extreme Makeover, the program where deserving people have their houses radically remodeled.  The episode is reported filming now.

April 9, 2005 in In the News | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Happy 87th

Today is the birthday of math teacher and Sixties satirist Tom Lehrer, born this day in 1928 in New York City.  Here's one of his lesser-known efforts.

Selling Out

Selling out
is easy to do.
It's not so hard
To find a buyer for you.
When money talks,
you're under its spell.
Ah, but whaddya have when there's nothing left to sell?

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You can't always break the rules.
People who try are fools.
When you get older, maybe then you will see.
I've always found ideals
Don't take the place of meals.
And that's how it is and how it will always be.

It's so nice to have integrity,
I'll tell you why.
If you really have integrity,
It means your price is very high.
So remember when you start to preach and moralize,
That we all are in the game, and, brother, its name is compromise.

April 9, 2005 in Miscellaneous | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Today in history--April 9

1241: The Mongols reach their furthest penetration into Europe at the Battle of Liegnitz, where they defeat a combined German-Polish force, but subsequently withdraw.

1626: Francis Bacon, 1st Viscount St. Albans, the crooked lawyer and royal toady who will invent the scientific methods, is born at London.

1682: René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, on a trip to scout new routes for the fur trade, becomes the first European to find the mouth of the Mississippi River.  He claims the region for France, and names it "Louisiana."

1806: Engineer-entrepreneur Isambard Kingdom Brunel is born at Portsmouth, England.  Among his works are the Thames Tunner, the Great Western Railway, the Royal Albert Bridge, and the Great Western, the first iron-hulled steamship to cross the Atlantic.

1865: In the parlor of Wilmer McLean's house at Appamottox Court House, Virginia, Robert E. Lee surrenders the Army of Northern Virginia to Ulysses S. Grant.  Four years later, the house will be foreclosed on and sold at public auction as a rental unit.  The tenant will buy it in 1872 for $1,250.

1867: By a single vote, the U.S. Senate ratifies the Alaska Purchase.  This may be the last time anyone in Washington was concerned about spending $7.2 million.

1905: J. William Fulbright (George Washington Law 1934) is born at Sumner, Missouri.  His watch as Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will see the Bay of Pigs, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, and the Vietnam War.

1913: The Brooklyn Robins (later the Dodgers) open their new ballpark in Flatbush, Ebbets Field.

1926: Hugh Marston Hefner, whose future career will prove that you can make money selling pictures of naked women, is born at Chicago, Illinois.

1953: The future arrives, as Warner Brothers debuts the first 3-D film, House of Wax, starring Vincent Price, with Charles Bronson as his sinister assistant, Igor.

April 9, 2005 in Today in History | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Friday, April 8, 2005

Nebraska Enacts Revised Article 1

Governor Dave Heineman today signed LB 570, which, by its terms, will take effect on January 1, 2006.  LB 570, like the nine versions of Revised Article 1 already enacted in Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Minnesota, New Mexico, Texas, and Virginia, rejects uniform R1-301, retaining the basic choice-of-law regime of pre-revised 1-105.  LB 570, like the versions of Revised Article 1 enacted in four other states (Alabama, Hawaii, Idaho, and Virginia), rejects uniform R1-201(b)(20)'s definition of "good faith" as "honesty in fact and the observance of reasonable commercial standards of fair dealing," retaining the definitions set forth in pre-revised 1-201(19) and unamended 2-103(1)(b) and 2A-103(3).


The Illinois Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approved Senator Kirk Dillard's floor amendment to substitute the language of pre-revised 1-105 and unamended 1-201(19) for uniform R1-301 and R1-201(b)(20), respectively.  Thus amended, SB 1647 must now pass a second and third reading in the Illinois Senate by April 15, and must receive House approval by May 20, before it can be submitted to Governor Rod Blagojevich for his signature or veto.

The Oklahoma Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approved HB 2028, which the House passed on March 16.  The deadline for final reading in the Senate is April 28.  HB 2028, like amended Illinois SB 1647 and the version of Revised Article 1 enacted in the all ten enacting states, rejects uniform R1-301 in favor of language similar to pre-revised 1-105.  HB 2028, unlike amended Illinois SB 1647 and the versions of Revised Article 1 enacted in Alabama, Hawaii, Idaho, Nebraska, and Virginia, adopts uniform R1-201(b)(20)'s "good faith" definition.

April 8, 2005 in Legislation | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Balletic "Contract" opens

The National Ballet of Canada's production of James Kubelka's ballet The Contract opened this week in New York at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

Acutally, the piece really is about a contract--specifically, the one involving the Pied Piper of Hamelin, although 1930s evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson is also involved.  The story is about "a charismatic faith healer hired to rid a small town of a mysterious illness."

Audiences in the Great White North apparently loved it, but initial critical reaction in the Big Apple is chilly.  "To make a story ballet," sniffed the Times, which always excels at lines like this, "you have to tell a story." 

April 8, 2005 in In the News | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

News in brief

A Taiwanese contract manufacturer says it has landed a contract with Apple to manufacture a new wide-screen iBook.
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Financier Ron Perelman's suit against Morgan Stanley, whom he says covered up facts in the Sunbeam debacle, will go to trial this week.
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Speaking of angry rich dudes, a venture capitalist is suing Sidley & Austin for putting him in a tax shelter that the IRS disapproved.
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United Airlines is terminating its agreement with Air Wisconsin to provide "United Express" flights; UAL says it will seek new carriers.
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The heirs of bossa nova composer Antonio Carlos Jobim (Girl from Ipanema) are suing Universal Studios and its music publishing arm, demanding royalties and a return of copyrights they say the company never rightfully had.
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Two telemarketing firms have won a $16.5 million judgment against BellSouth, on their claims that it hired them, then fired them and appropriated their techniques.
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Basketball star Lebron James may be in court on a breach-of-contract claim while his Cleveland Cavaliers are in the NBA playoffs; the judge has refused to delay trial in a $15 million suit brought by a man who says James backed out of an endorsement deal.
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The Christian Legal Society is suing the Southern Illinois University law school for revoking its charter.

April 8, 2005 in In the News | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Today in history--April 8

1730: The first synagogue in New York City, Shearith Israel, is founded, about 50 years before the first Catholic church.

1820: A peasant named Yorgos finds the Venus de Milo on the island of Melos in the Ottoman Empire.  He's the only person in the chain of title who won't get rich or famous off of it.

1859: Philosopher Edmund Husserl is born at Prostějov, Moravia, in what is now the Czech Republic.

1892: Gladys Louise Smith is born at Toronto, Ontario.  As "Mary Pickford" she will become the first woman in Hollywood to earn $1 million a year, and the first to be a top executive at a major studio, United Artists.

1899: Martha Place, who smothers her 17-year-old step-daughter than then takes an axe to the remains, becomes the first woman to die in an electric chair when she is executed at Sing Sing.

1904: In one of the earliest and most successful corporate naming deals, Longacre Square in New York City is renamed "Times Square."

1913: The 17th amendment to the U.S. Constitution is ratified, requiring direct election of Senators in all states.  The caliber of Senators was supposed to be improved.

1952: President Truman calls for seizure of all the nation's steel mills, to avert a threatened strike by workers.

1971: Mr. and Mrs. Robert Donahue of Wethersfield, Connecticut, are surprised when a six-pound meteorite hits their house.  No one is hurt.

1973: The creator of the modern mass-produced-but-very-expensive art collectibles industry, Pablo Picasso, dies near Cannes.

1985: The Indian government sues Union Carbide in the wake of the Bhopal disaster.  Relatively little of the settlement money will ever get to victims.

April 8, 2005 in Today in History | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, April 7, 2005

News in brief

Eleven eBay customers are bringing a class action against the online auction house for failing to make good on promises it would refund money if products were not delivered or were defective.
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A radio network is reporting that rocker Ted Nugent will appeal a $100,000 state court verdict he won, claiming he should also have been able to claim consequential damages.
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In a sign that the end of the Cold War means that arms dealing is getting even more international, India appears ready to buy a fleet of Russian T-80 battle tanks with custom French equipment on board.
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Running back Terrell Owens, who just last year signed a seven-year contract $46 million contract with the Philadelphia Eagles, is already saying the deal should be renegotiated.
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The Long Beach (N.J.) City Council has approved plans for a big new $150 million development of a six-acre parcel of ocean front land known as the the Superblock.

April 7, 2005 in In the News | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

New from NBER

Nber The current issue of the NBER Digest has some things of interest, including an article on the effect the 2001 tax rebates had on the economy; a study of how changes in the stock market affect retirement decisions, the effects of different co-payment methods on drug demand, and a piece on globalization and poverty in Mexico.  You can download a copy of the digest here.

April 7, 2005 in Recent Scholarship | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Illinois says it's frustrated

There’s a classic "changed circumstances" case brewing in the Land of Lincoln, where the British wholesaler who sold the state 255,000 doses of flu vaccine is suing on the contract.

The state has never taken possession of the doses, though, because the FDA didn't authorize their importation.  And flu season is pretty much over now.  The wholesaler, Ecosse Hospital Products Ltd., is seeking $2.6 million in the Illinois Court of Claims. The issue will be whether failure to get FDA approval for the imports would be an "'unforeseeable circumstances beyond [the state’s] reasonable control, including . . . governmental regulation."

April 7, 2005 in In the News | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Making lemonade

New_jersey_flag_1 A lessee whose vehicle doesn’t qualify for coverage under New Jersey's lemon law can still bring a federal warranty action against the manufacturer, according to a new decision by the New Jersey Court of Appeals.   The Newark Star-Ledger has a full account of the case.

April 7, 2005 in Recent Cases | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Federal procurement confab set

The BCA Judges Association always puts on a good program for those into federal procurement law.  This year’s 2005 Annual Seminar—which will be held at the Hilton Alexandria Mark Center in Virginia on Tuesday, April 12—features panels on "Contractors on the Battlefront," "What Every Lawyer Needs to Know About Using E-Mail," and a review of the major government procurement cases of 2004.

Interestingly enough, there’s doesn't seem to be any web site, but information is available by E-mail.

April 7, 2005 in Conferences | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Today in history—April 7

529: Emperor Justinian I issues the first edition of the Codex, the first part of the Corpus Iuris Civilis.

1348: With a bull beginning, Karolus, Dei gracia Romanorum rex semper augustus et Boemi rex, Charles I of Bohemia creates the Charles University of Prague, the oldest Czech university.

1655: Fabio Chigi, who got his doctorate in law from the University of Siena, becomes Pope Alexander VII.

1739: Celebrated English highwayman Richard "Dick" Turpin is hanged for horse-stealing at York.

1795: France adopts the "meter" as a measure of distance. Experts immediately declare that American industry will be left behind if it does not adopt the metric system.

1827: One of the world’s great unsung benefactors, John Walker, invents the match.

1891: The same day that showman P.T. Barnum dies at Bridgeport, Connecticut, future toy titan Ole Kirk Christiansen is born at Filskov, Denmark. If you’re a parent, you’ll have stepped on many of his Lego blocks.

1908: Barrister Herbert Henry Asquith, later 1st Earl of Oxford and Asquith, takes office as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom with the largest Liberal majority in the party's history.  It will be their last.

1922: The U.S. Department of the Interior signs the contract to lease oil reserves at Teapot Dome, Wyoming, to the Sinclair Oil Co.

1944: German Chancellor Gerhard Fritz Kurt Schröder, who will take his law degree at the University of Göttingen before turning to politics, is born at Mossenberg, Germany.

1969: The Internet is born, as "Request for Comments 1" is issued by the Advanced Research Projects Agency.

1998: Travelers Group and Citicorp announce a planned merger that will create the world’s biggest financial institution.  The best name they can come up with is "Citigroup."

April 7, 2005 in Today in History | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, April 6, 2005

News in brief

Former tennis star Martina Navratilova is in a dispute with the credit card company over her withdrawal of her endorsement of a "gay-friendly" "Rainbow" credit card.

The University of Pittsburgh is being sued by basketball season-ticket holders who say a new ticket policy breaches their previously acquired rights to buy the same seats each year.

The owners of a $2 million California home that was destroyed in a landslide are suing pretty much everybody—engineers, contractors, and even neighbors.

Britain’s Pinewood Studios says it’s about to lose a contract with Paramount to film the upcoming sci-fi flick The Watchmen, because of high film-making costs in the U.K.

An advertising exec in L.A. is suing his employer for wrongful discharge, after he was fired over alleged improper billing practices.

Travelers who connect through DFW airport will find six new Lego-themed play areas for kids, as part of a new contract to make Pepsi the "preferred" beverage at the hub.

A former employee is suing Guinness World Records after she was fired for signing a contract to write a book about what goes on inside that odd entity.

The U.S. Army has announced that it plans to "restructure" a $100 billion contract with Boeing—and it apparently won’t be to Boeing’s benefit.

April 6, 2005 in In the News | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Exam Question of the Day

Bozeman, Montana, may not seem like a major venue for hip-hop music, but a local promoter there is suing a California company after a group of artists backed out from a gig at his "Justus Hip Hop Emporium."

It’s a dispute that bears a striking resemblance to one of those cute exam questions we often inflict on students.  See, Justus's owner, Josh Perkins, had an agreement with JL Entertainment to bring rappers Warren G and Nate Dogg to town.  Perkins paid a $3,500 fee.  The rappers, however, subsequently discovered a scheduling conflict and canceled.

Still hoping to do the concert, Perkins and JL subsequently agreed to a new deal.  This time JL agreed to provide a much bigger act, Westside Connection, whose star was actor/rapper Ice Cube.  Perkins agreed to pay considerably more for the bigger act, another $21,500.  But just before the concert—apparently without fault on either side—Cube left the band.   Perkins says JL "pressured" him to go ahead with the concert without telling anyone that the star wouldn’t be there.  He refused.

Hope springs eternal, though, and so the parties again tried to work something out. Since Perkins had already paid $25,000, JL agreed to bring yet another act, Petey Pablo & the Liks, to town for that price—but two days before the show demanded an additional $11,000.  Perkins refused.

Perkins has paid JL a total of $25,000, and incurred $6,000 in promotion costs.  His business fell off as irate customers came in to return tickets, his investors, many of them family members, have lost money and are really irritated at him, he's been reduced to booking much smaller shows, and he now has gray hair.

What are his damages? Please explain.  Don't forget to make any counter-arguments.

April 6, 2005 in In the News | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Our ratings do not reflect the quality of education here

Yes, it’s that time of year—the time for grousing and bragging about the new U.S. News law school ranking. Those who’ve dropped are kvetching, or playing it down, while those whose stock is on the rise are sounding reasonably pleased, or very pleased indeed.

The reactions of law schools to U.S. News rankings are rapidly becoming like law school applicants' views of the LSAT: a meaningless exercise that obviously bears no relationship to their ability to succeed in law schools, unless they happen to have done well.

April 6, 2005 in In the News | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

A copyright is forever

New_york_flag_4 New York's common law copyright, like a diamond, lasts forever, according to a new decision by the state's Court of Appeals, as reported by the New York Law Journal and  Under the decision, musical recordings, unlike the written compositions, do not go into the public domain after a time, so that every music recording ever made, from Thomas Edison forward, is still under copyright, at least in New York.  The 7-0 decision was written by Judge Victoria Graffeo.

April 6, 2005 in Recent Cases | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

11th Circuit strikes down noncompete

Georgia_flag_1 Via, the Fulton County (Ga.) Daily Report  has a story on a new 11th Circuit case involving concompete clauses in Georgia.  The story is here; this is the abstract:

The 11th Circuit has upheld an executive's right to escape a noncompete agreement he signed while working for insurance giant Marsh & McLennan Companies Inc. In affirming the district court's declaratory judgment that the agreement was unenforceable under Georgia law, the panel effectively rendered the agreement unenforceable around the country. That part of the decision is particularly important, say attorneys, because Georgia's noncompete law is one of the toughest on employers.

April 6, 2005 in Recent Cases | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Capacity: School board lacks authority for 5-year contract

Tennessee_flag An automatic renewal clause in a four-year Tennessee school employee’s contract is unlawful and unenforceable, the state’s court of appeals has ruled, because the school board that awarded it lacked capacity to do so.

The plaintiff in the case had a four-year contract with the school board, a clause of which provided that if the board took no action before April 15, it would automatically be renewed for the next year. But this provision, said the court, ran afoul of a Tennessee statute that provided that contracts for school employees could not run longer than four years. The automatic renewal would have the effect of creating a five year contract, which was outside the board’s authority.

Heatherly v. Campbell County Board of Education, 2005 Tenn. App. LEXIS 144 (March 10, 2005).

April 6, 2005 in Recent Cases | Permalink | TrackBack (0)