ContractsProf Blog

Editor: D. A. Jeremy Telman
Valparaiso Univ. Law School

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Saturday, May 14, 2005

Lipshaw to visit Wake Forest

Jeff_lipshaw Jeff Lipshaw is making the move into full-time academia.  Lipshaw, the Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Great Lakes Chemical Corp., will enter the waters by teaching Contracts and Sales next year as a visiting professor at Wake Forest.  Jeff earned his A.B. from Michigan and his J.D. from Stanford, spent 13 years as an associate and partner at Detroit’s Dykema Gossett PLLC, and was formerly V.P. and general counsel of AlliedSignal Automotive.  He’s also been teaching an innovative course on technology start-ups and venture capital at Indiana-Indianapolis.

May 14, 2005 in Contract Profs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Big numbers

Some time ago we noted the dispute between two football players over their uniform number.  Clinton Portis, if you recall, agreed to pay $200,000 to Ifeanyi Ohalete to give Portis the right to uniform number 26 when both were teammates on the Washington Redskins.  After the team released Ohalete, though, Portis allegedly stopped paying and Ohalete sued.  They're now headed to court.

Well, it turns out that the commerce in uniform numbers is booming.  In an interesting feature, the New York Times runs down all the various deals that players make, which range from Portis's $200,000 in cash to a $40,000 motorcycle, to a new kitchen--and all the way down to the two cases of beer that former baseball relief pitcher Mitch Williams gave to Philadelphia Phillies teammate John Kruk.  ("The only reason Mitch wanted the number," says Kruk, "is because his wife had a lot of No. 28 jewelry and he didn't want to buy her any more jewelry.  Not long after that, he got divorced and changed numbers.")

Thanks to Elizabeth Winston (Whittier) and Miguel Schor (Suffolk) for the tip.

May 14, 2005 in In the News | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Friday, May 13, 2005

Film Clips: Judge Reinhold on practicing law

     [Randal is going to defend Dante at his trial before Judge Reinhold]
     Dante: What are you doing? You're gonna get us both sent to jail!
     Randal: In Virginia, anyone who passes the bar can be a lawyer.
     Dante: You haven't passed the bar!  And this isn't Virginia!
     Randal: They don't know that!
     Lawyer: Your Honor, may I point out that this man is not a lawyer, and we are relatively sure this is not Virginia.
     Randal: Your Honor, may I point out that I've seen all of your movies, including Zandalee and Vice Versa.
     Judge Reinhold: I'm going to allow it.

                    From Clerks (2000)

May 13, 2005 in Film Clips | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Contracts are "front and center" in business

A good contract can't save a bad business relationship, notes consultant Steve Charles in a recent column in Washington Technology, but a bad contract can ruin a good relationship.  The terms of the deal are thus more important than ever, he says, and relying on old boilerplate instead of working out new and appropriate terms can be dangerous.

May 13, 2005 in Commentary | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Today in history—May 14

1265: Soldier, politician, bureaucrat, pharmacist, and poet Dante Alighieri is born at Florence.

1643: Four year old Louis XIV—who may or may not have actually said, "L'état, c'est moi!"—ascends the French throne he will hold for 72 years.

1787: Delegates meet in Philadelphia for the opening of a new Constitutional Convention.

1870: Nelson College and the Nelson Rugby Football Club play the first rugby match in New Zealand.

1906: Carl Schurz, the exiled German revolutionary who became a Wisconsin lawyer, Civil War general, diplomat, newspaper editor, cabinet secretary, and U.S. Senator from Missouri, dies at New York City.

1913: The Rockefeller Foundation, endowed with $100 million by old John D., comes into being.

1936: Joe Webb will get the pension he says he was promised, as the Alabama Supreme Court releases its decision in Webb v. McGowin.

1944: Film mogul George Lucas is born at Modesto, California. He’s famous for his films, but the real money comes from his Industrial Light & Magic, THX, and Lucasfilm operations—and he also founded what became Pixar.

1983: Former California Chief Justice Roger John Traynor (Boalt Hall 1927) dies at Berkeley, California.

1998: After a nine-year run, the popular television series Seinfeld hits the trail for syndication re-runs.

May 13, 2005 in Today in History | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Willrich joins Phoenix International

Penny_willrich The new Phoenix International School of Law is bringing on an experienced judge as a new contracts professor.  The school has named Penny Willrich, currently a Judge on the Maricopa County Superior Court, to its full-time faculty.

Willrich is a 1982 graduate of the old Antioch School of Law (now UDC), and is a Ph.D. candidate at Union Institute and University in Cincinnati.  Before going on the bench she spent a decade doing community legal services work and was assistant director of Arizona’s Division of Children and Family Services.  She’s also an ordained Baptist minister.

May 12, 2005 in Contract Profs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Today in history—May 13

1607: The ships of the London Company of Virginia arrive at Jamestown to found the first permanent English settlement in the New World.  The first colonists are stockholders and employees of the Company, most of the latter on seven years’ indenture.

1637: The table knife is invented in France by Cardinal Richelieu, who orders that the points on all the knives at his dinner table be rounded off.

1842: Sir Arthur Seymour Sullivan is born at London.  His first major work with librettist William S. Gilbert will be Trial By Jury in 1875, a smashing success about a breach of promise action in the Court of Exchequer.

1880: Thomas Edison makes the first demonstration of his new "electric railway" at Menlo Park, New Jersey.

1884: Cyrus Hall McCormick, dies at Chicago.  He’s most famous for inventing the mechanical reaper, but his biggest innovations were no-haggle pricing, easy credit and financing for farmers, money-back guarantees, and interchangeable replacement parts, techniques that remain standard today.

1888: Slavery is abolished in Brazil.

1909: The first Giro d'Italia, part of the triple crown of bicycle racing, is held at Milan.

1958: The trademark "Velcro" is registered. Invented by a Swiss, the name comes from the French velours (velvet), and crochet (hook).  It’s actually made of thousands of really tiny little hooks and loops.

1975: James Robert "Bob" Wills, whose first tasted success with his Light Crust Doughboys (sponsored by the Burrus Mill & Elevator Co. of Fort Worth), dies at age 70.

1985: Philadelphia police kill 11 and incinerate a city block when they bomb the headquarters of the MOVE organization.  The city has already paid over $32 million and litigation is still going on.

May 12, 2005 in Today in History | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Film Clips: Never trust a record label

     Jimmy:  Diane Dane told me never trust a label.  And I'm beginning to believe her.
     Lenny:  Well, sure.  I mean, come on.  They put us up in a first class hotel, all expenses paid, while our record climbs the charts.  Bunch of lyin' snakes.
     Jimmy:  Sorry, I guess I'm just alone in my principles.
     Lenny:  Oh come on.  [Jimmy leaves the room.]  Oh, there he goes off to his room to write that hit song, "Alone In My Principles."

               That Thing You Do (1996)

May 12, 2005 in Film Clips | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

News in brief

Pro golfer David Toms has sued the company that represents him, seeking to terminate a deal that runs through 2006 on grounds of breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty.

After losing money for 19 consecutive quarters, United Airlines will head to trial in bankruptcy court to try to impose lower wages on two of its unions.

Honda has terminated an auto-parts supply contract with the Alabama unit of Hunjan International.

The government employees' union in Ontario is making strike noises in the face of a "final offer" from the government.

The cash-strapped British Broadcasting Co. has terminated the contract of the special effects "guru" on the new Dr. Who television series, saying he'll have to work freelance.

The Thai Agriculture Department says it won't revoke the contract of a company that's supposed to deliver 90 million rubber saplings, even though it delivered only 80 percent and a quarter of those delivered died.

Faced with $1.6 billion in potential termination costs, the Defense Department reverses course and says it will go through with a major Lockheed contract for transport planes.

Vertrue, Inc., says it will appeal yesterday's Connecticut Supreme Court decision approving an arbitrator's award of $5.5 million in punitives in a contract dispute that involved no compensatory damages.

In the face of slumping sales, General Motors has fired its current advertising buyer and awarded the $3.5 billion contract to a unit of France's Publicis Group.

May 12, 2005 in In the News | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Boardman joins OLC

Michelle_boardman George Mason's Michelle Boardman is taking a leave of absence from the school to become a Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Office of Legal Counsel.  Boardman, who's also a blogger (Volokh Conspiracy) earned her J.D. at Chicago, clerked for Judge Frank Easterbrook on the Seventh Circuit, and practiced appellate law at Wiley Rein & Fielding.

May 12, 2005 in Contract Profs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Today in history—May 12

1003: Gerbert d'Aurillac dies at Rome.  As a scholar, he introduced the abacus to Europe, helped popularize Arabic numerals, and devised a new hydraulic organ.  As Pope Sylvester II he also battled simony.

1641: A cheerful crowd of 200,000 watches Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Strafford, the Inner Temple barrister who played a major role in the events leading up to the English Civil War, lose his head on Tower Hill.

1551: The oldest university in South America, the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, is founded at Lima, Peru.

1850: Henry Cabot Lodge (Harvard Law 1874), who will receive the first Ph.D. in political science awarded by Harvard and will go on to teach there, is born at Boston, Massachusetts.  As chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, his dust-up with Woodrow Wilson over the League of Nations, will be one of the rare times when opposing sides on a major public issue are both led by recovering academics.

1870: Manitoba, a piece of the old Hudson’s Bay Company property, becomes the fifth Canadian province.

1890: The first County Championship of cricket begins at Bristol, as Yorkshire beats Gloucestershire by eight wickets. Thirty-eight year-old George Ulyett of Yorkshire notches the first century.

1914: Anchorman Howard K. (for "Kingsbury") Smith is born at Ferriday, Louisiana. He will become one of the relatively few journalists to excel in college, which perhaps explains why he nearly always finishes third in the ratings.

1921: Joseph Beuys, one of the most influential artists of the past 50 years, is born at Krefeld, Germany. In 1982 he will begin his 7,000 Oaks project, which will plant 7,000 oak trees, or only about 100 million fewer than Weyerhaeuser Corp. does each year.

1926: After the government refuses to budge, Britain's trade unions call off a general strike in support of distressed coal miners, who are left to fend for themselves.

1966: Busch Memorial Stadium opens in 1966. It’s designed by legendary modernist architect Edward Durrell Stone, which is probably why it never was much good for anything and will be replaced next year by something not designed by a legendary modernist architect.

1975: A container ship owned by America’s Sea-Land Services, Inc., the S.S. Mayagüez, is seized by Cambodian gunboats.

1999: David Martin Scott Steel (Edinburgh Law 1962) becomes the first Presiding Officer (Oifigear-Riaghlaidh) of the modern Scottish Parliament.

May 12, 2005 in Today in History | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Quotes: Kathy Ireland on money and art

"Because modeling is lucrative, I'm able to save up and be more particular about the acting roles I take."

                Kathy Ireland, star of Alien From L.A. and Danger Island

May 11, 2005 in Quotes | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Quotes: Sherlock Holmes on multiple choice exams

"Whenever you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth."

             Sherlock Holmes
             The Sign of Four

May 11, 2005 in Quotes | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

News in brief

Apple Computer has settled a lawsuit brought by rapper Eminem's recording company afterApple used one of its songs on an iPod commercial.

Two British soccer clubs are going to court to block the UniBond League Premier Division Playoffs.

The city of Hercules (Calif.) is being sued by a developer for breach of contract in the wake of a busted hotel deal.

The Nine Network has agreed to extend its broadcast contract with Cricket Australia through 2013; terms were not disclosed but it's described as a "significantly increased contract" with the popular sport.

France's EADS and America's Raytheon will team up to bid on a new contract for U.S. Army transport aircraft.

Warner Brothers Music, in a potential contract dispute with its biggest act, saw its IPO go forward yesterday at $17 a share, well below the $22-$24 pre-offering estimates.

A British company has lost its railway maintenance contract after various defalcations, including forgetting to attach the rails to the railroad ties.

The owner of the Philadelphia Eagles says he's not even thinking about restructuring the contract of holdout wide receiver Terrell Owens.

A federal bankruptcy judge has approved United Airlines's plan to terminate its employee pension plans.

The Australian Football League's Geelong Cats have 20 players whose contracts will expire this year, and many of them will have to agree to below-market contracts if the team is to be kept together.

Hockey legend Wayne Gretzky, the managing partner of the NHL's Phoenix Coyotes, is in talks to become its new head coach as well.

Some interesting negotiations are ahead for the Bay Area Rapid Transit District, where management wants give-backs, unions want wage increases, the system is losing money, taxes are already high, and residents are squealing about a 15-cent fare hike.

May 11, 2005 in In the News | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Sorting out the problems of duress

Grace_giesel The concept of duress is one of those that seems clear enough on the surface, but gets murkier and murkier the more closely you look at it.  In a new article A Realistic Proposal for the Contract Duress Doctrine, 107 W. Va. L. Rev. 443 (2005), Grace Giesel (Louisville) tries to make sense out of the various aspects of the economic duress problem, and defends a "no reasonable alternative" test as a means of cleaning up much of the confusion.

The article isn’t on the web, but you can get a copy by contacting the author here.

May 11, 2005 in Recent Scholarship | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Contracts profs get tenure

Keith_rowley Congratulations to our Contributing Editor, Keith Rowley, who has just been granted tenure and promoted to full professor at UNLV.  Rowley earned his B.A. at Baylor, his M.P.P. at Harvard's Kennedy School, and his J.D. at Texas, where he was an executive editor of the Texas Law Review.  Before going into teaching, he clerked for Judge Thomas Reavley on the Fifth Circuit before practicing law for five years in Houston.  Among Keith's other gigs are serving on the executive committee of our sister AALS Section on Commercial and Related Consumer Law, and co-chair of the ABA Business Law Section's Subcommittee on Sales, but he's best known to students as the author of the popular Q&A: Contracts.

Jamie_fox Good news on the tenure front also for two of our colleagues at Stetson, where James W. Fox, Jr., and Kristen D. Adams both were granted it, effective in the fall.  Jamie (left) received his B.A. at North Carolina and his J.D. at Michigan, where he was Editor in Chief of the Journal of Law Reform.  He practiced with D.C.'s Covington & Burling before going into teaching.  He's doing some interesting work these days on the connection between 19th century contracts ideology and the 14th amendment.

Kristen_adams Kristen earned her B.A. at Rice, her J.D. at Emory (where she was managing editor of the Law Journal), and her LL.M. from Yale.  She practiced four years in Atlanta before joining the Stetson faculty in 2000.  She currently holds the Leroy Highbaugh, Sr. Chair in Faculty Research and is working on a casebook on commercial transactions for West.

May 11, 2005 in Contract Profs | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Today in history—May 11

1778: William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham, the college dropout who became one of England’s greatest prime ministers, dies at Hayes, in Kent.  He got his start in because his grandfather, the India merchant Thomas "Diamond" Pitt, bought the uninhabited borough of Old Sarum, with the right to elect two members of Parliament.

1811: The original Siamese Twins, Chang and Eng, are born of Chinese parents in Thailand. They ultimately settle in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, take the surname "Bunker," marry two sisters, and raise ten children between them.

1812: Barrister Spencer Perceval becomes the first (and only) British prime minister to be assassinated, when he is shot in the lobby of the House of Commons.

1853: A broken shaft on its steam engine forces the temporary closure of the City Flour Mills in Gloucester, England, and sends employees scurrying to find a way to transport the shaft to Greenwich.

1858: Minnesota is admitted to the Union as the 32nd state. The Tourism Department prefers "Land of 10,000 Lakes" to "Gopher State."

1888: Israel Isidore Baline is born at Tyumen, Siberia. He never really learns to read music, but in 1907 will sell the lyrics to a song, Marie from Sunny Italy, for 37 cents; a misprint on the sheet music will change his name to "Irving Berlin."

1894: Three thousand workers of the Pullman Palace Car Company launch a wildcat strike in Chicago. A sympathy strike will seriously hamper U.S. rail travel, and President Cleveland will eventually put the strike down with federal troops.

1911: The United States becomes a signatory of the Buenos Aires Convention on copyright.

1927: Some 36 producers, directors, actors, writers, technicians, and lawyers found the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

1963: Hawkshaw Hawkins’s LOnesome 7-7203 is atop the country music charts. It may be coincidence that this telephone number (with an 877 prefix) is today the U.S. Medicaid help line.

May 11, 2005 in Today in History | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

News in brief

The new head football coach at the University of Florida has signed a complex and incentive-laden deal worth about $14.2 million over seven years.

Bulgaria’s National Electricity Co. is seeking bids for development of a new nuclear power station in the north part of the country.

East Carolina University, defending a breach of contract suit by its former provost, says its Chancellor had no authority to make the employment promises on which the provost relied.

A lawsuit based on the alleged oral contract that led to the firing of Ohio State basketball coach Jim O’Brien has been dismissed, apparently on statute of frauds grounds.

Germany’s Siemans has won a big contract to modernize commuter train service in Mumbai (formerly Bombay), where hundreds of people are killed each year when they fall from or are hit by trains.

Janitors, cooks, and service workers at the University of California have ratified a new contract that creates a minimum wage of $9 an hour.

A nasty contract battle seems to have scuttled plans for a residential artists colony in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

Swansea, England, is looking at an IT outsourcing deal that it says could save taxpayers £72 million.

A joint Vietnamese-Japanese oil development project  says it will use technology supplied by the U.S.’s Halliburton Energy Services Group.

May 10, 2005 in In the News | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Quotes: Supermodel economics

"I don't wake up for less than $10,000 a day."

        Linda Evangelista

May 10, 2005 in Quotes | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Three profs in Top 40

Three law professors have made the National Law Journal’s list of the forty hottest lawyers under age forty, but none for their teaching and scholarship.  David Schizer, 36, a tax professor, gets the nod for being the youngest dean in Columbia’s history; Neal Katyal, 36, of Georgetown, is noted for his representation of Vice President Gore and Guanatanamo detainees; and Jennifer Martinez, 33, of Stanford, got named for her representation of alleged "dirty bomber" Abdullah al-Mujahir.

May 10, 2005 in In the News | Permalink | TrackBack (0)