ContractsProf Blog

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Valparaiso Univ. Law School

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Wednesday, September 7, 2005

Google Expands Project to 14 Countries

A previous post discussed the "Google Print for Libraries" project and Google's announcement to temporarily suspend scanning of copyrighted material.  Google halted scanning of these materials to allow publishers to opt out of the project. 

While the project of scanning copyrighted material apparently remains suspended, Google recently rolled out stand-alone book search services in 14 countries.  It appears that Google is not retreating from its plan to scan every book in the world.

The announcement prompted the Text and Academic Authors Association (TAA) to join publishers and trade organizations in protesting Google's opt out policy.  TAA's executive director commented:

Google is putting the burden on publishers and other copyright holders to opt-out of having their works digitized and placed in the online library, an onerous requirement.

Google stated that the project will serve to "make . . . books more visible and well-promoted worldwide, so they can reach distribution wherever [readers] are."

[Meredith R. Miller]

September 7, 2005 in E-commerce | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Today in History: September 7

1876: The original James-Younger Gang is nearly wiped out during an attempted robbery of the First National Bank of Northfield, Minnesota, when armed townspeople open fire on the robbers.  Only Frank and Jesse James escape death or capture.

1867: Financier John Pierpont Morgan is born at Hartford, Connecticut.

1892: Poet John Greenleaf Whittier dies at Hampton Falls, New Hampshire.  The college named for him will get a law school in 1975.

1921: The first Miss America Pageant is held at Atlantic City, New Jersey, as a ploy to keep summer tourists in Atlantic City after Labor Day.  The top four cities for producing Miss Americas?  Los Angeles, Denver, Philadelphia, and Columbus, each with three.

1963: The Pro Football Hall of Fame opens at Canton, Ohio.  The Chicago Bears (26) and Pittsburgh Steelers (22) have the most inductees.

1965: The last episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show, the first TV program to show a housewife wearing pants instead of a dress, airs on CBS.

1971: The last episode of The Beverly Hillbillies airs.  Despite good ratings, CBS cancels it, along with the popular Green Acres and Hee Haw, to get rid of its image as a “rural” network.

1979: Chrysler Corp. asks the U.S. government for $1 billion to help it avoid bankruptcy.

1998: Two Stanford Ph.D. students, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, incorporate their new business, which they call Google, Inc.  It will wind up taking too much time for them to complete their studies.

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

Tuesday, September 6, 2005

News in Brief

A former executive of Dolby Laboratories is suing the company for sex discrimination, breach of contract, and fraud.  (MarketWire)

One of the NFL’s biggest contract renegotiations has ended happily, with the Pittsburgh Steelers signing star wide receiver Hines Ward to a four-year, $25.8 million contract, with $10 million guaranteed.  (Associated Press)

Singapore is in final negotiations with Boeing on a contract for F-15 fighter aircraft; the U.S. plane apparently beat out the French-built Rafale.  (Forbes)

Florida’s Sparkling Milk Co., makers of “Sparkling Milk” and “Crazy Cow” beverages, is suing an Irish company for breach of contract and patent fraud after the Irish co-venturers patented the company’s product.  (Irish Post)

The U.S. Postal Service has awarded a $560 million contract to Germany’s Siemens for expansion of its automated mail forwarding system.  (Business Week)

The Montgomery (Ala.) Chamber of Commerce is paying $1 million to settle a breach of contract and fraud claim brought by residents who sold land to be used to locate a new Hyundai auto plant. (Montgomery Advertiser)

Halliburton’s Brown & Root division will start work on cleaning up Hurricane Katrina damage under a $500 million Navy emergency services contract it won last summer.  (Washington Post)

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

Employee v. Independent Contractor

Whether a particular person is an employee or an independent contractor is one of those seemingly simple questions that you can never be sure about until the litigation is over.  That’s the lesson in Employment Law Liability for Independent Contractors ~ or ~"My Insurance Salespersons Can’t Sue Me For Discrimination… They’re Independent Contractors!", by Philip B. Russell of Tampa’s Fisher & Phillips, LLP.

September 6, 2005 in Commentary | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Nutshell on Payments Law

Mary_beth_matthews In the mail this week is a new Nutshell on Payments Law by Steve H. Nickles (Wake Forest) and Mary Beth Matthews (Arkansas-Fayetteville) (left).  It looks like a good and accessible reference not only for students, but those of us commercial types who are kind of weak in that area.  It's published by Thomson/West.

[Frank Snyder]

September 6, 2005 in Books | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

N.Y. Court of Appeals Hears UCC Case Today

Coahead01Today, the New York Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments in Regatos v. North Fork Bank, which involves two certified questions concerning the Uniform Commercial Code.

Regatos, a citizen of Brazil, commenced an action in federal court against Commercial Bank of New York (CBNY) and its successor, North Fork Bank, to recover $600,000 that was removed from his CBNY account through two unauthorized wire transfers in March and April of 2001. Regatos had asked the bank to hold his statements, and he did not request a copy of a statement until August 2001. After reviewing the statement, Regatos immediately informed CBNY that the transfers were unauthorized.

CBNY moved to dismiss the action, arguing that Regatos failed to protest the transfers in a timely manner under the terms of his account agreement. The agreement required the customer to “exercise reasonable care and promptness in examining” account statements and provided the customer with 15 calendar days to notify the bank of any irregularities.  Additionally, when a customer requested that statements be held, the agreement applied the 15-day requirement as though the customer had received the statement on the date shown on the statement.

Regatos argued that CBNY’s obligations were established under U.C.C. Article 4A, which requires a bank to refund its customer any payment made through an unauthorized electronic funds transfer if the customer objects to the transfer within a year.  The District Court denied CBNY’s motion to dismiss, holding that (1) the one-year notice period under the U.C.C. could not be shortened by contractual agreement and (2) the U.C.C. requires actual notice to the customer of the improper transfer. CBNY appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. The Second Circuit, in turn, certified the following questions to the New York Court of Appeals:

1.  Can the one-year statute of repose established by New York U.C.C. Article 4A-505 be varied by agreement?  If so, are there any limits on the variation thereof (such as "reasonable time") that estop CBNY from denying Regatos recovery in this case?

2.  In the absence of agreement does New York U.C.C. Article 4A require actual notice, rather than constructive notice?  If so, can this requirement be altered by agreement of the parties and was such achieved here?

[Meredith R. Miller]

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

Today in History: September 6

3761 BC: The Hebrew calendar begins.

1522: The Victoria, the only survivor of Ferdinand Magellan’s five ships, reaches Sanlúcar de Barrameda in Spain, becoming the first ship to circumnavigate the globe.  The 26 tons of spice in the hold are enough to yield a small profit on the voyage, even accounting for the lost ships.

1683: Jean-Baptiste Colbert, whose detailed regulations for every branch of French commerce, restrictions on workers, and protection of large businesses earned the name “mercantilism,” dies at age 74.

1814: Quebec lawyer George-Étienne Cartier, the “Father of Confederation,” is born at Saint-Antoine in what is then called Lower Canada.

1847: Henry David Thoreau leaves the wilderness of Walden Pond for the home of his friend Ralph Waldo Emerson, a 15-minute walk away.

1901: U.S. President William McKinley (Albany Law 1867) is shot and fatally wounded at the Pan-American Exhibition in Buffalo, New York.  His assassin uses a .32 caliber Iver-Johnson Safety Hammer revolver.

1991: Sic transit gloria mundi - Leningrad’s name is switched back to St. Petersburg after 67 years.

2001: The U.S. Justice Department announces it has decided not to seek a break-up of Microsoft Corp., and will instead pursue other antitrust remedies.

September 6, 2005 in Today in History | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Monday, September 5, 2005

Weekend News Roundup

Court terms are kicking off today in the U.K., with a spate of high-profile contract disputes on the plate.

Declarations filed in Microsoft’s breach of contract lawsuit against a former senior executive who’s defecting to rival Google, allege that President Steve Ballmer threw a chair and said,  “I'm going to f--- kill Google.”

India’s two biggest software companies have each won big outsourcing contracts from the Dutch ABN Amro Bank.

Michigan franchisor G&L Hot Dogs is suing one of its local operators who, it says, is continuing to use the company’s name and “secret sauce” after expiration of the franchise agreement.

The British, once famous for their stiff upper lip in the face of bad service, have now become Europe’s second-most complaining consumers, after the Swedes.

Zimbabwe Cricket has kicked off a row with players after it withdrew contracts from three white players, including two of the team’s stars, on the eve of the tri-series match against India.

The second time was the charm for Alcan Inc., whose West Virginia workers withdrew a strike notice and voted to accept a 5-year deal that they had previously rejected despite a union recommendation in favor.

Eels will have an easier time getting up and down the St. Lawrence Seaway, as a result of a contract issued to a New York firm to build an eel passage next to a hydroelectric plant.

September 5, 2005 in In the News | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Weekly Top Ten

Ssrn_logo_22 There are very few changes in this edition of the Weekly Top Ten.  Following are the ten most-downloaded papers from the SSRN Journal of Contract and Commercial Law, for the 60 days ending September 4, 2005.  (Last week’s ranking in parentheses.)

1 (1) Understanding the Current Wave of Procurement Reform - Devolution of the Contracting Function, Christopher R. Yukins (Geo. Washington).

2 (2) On Collaboration, Organizations, and Conciliation in the General Theory of Contract, Ethan J. Leib (UC-Hastings).

3 (3) Decisionmaking & the Limits of Disclosure: The Problem of Predatory Lending, Lauren E. Willis (Loyola-L.A.).

4 (4) The Posthumous Life of the Postal Rule Requiem and Revival of Adams v. Lindsell, Peter Goodrich (Cardozo).

5 (7) The Limits of Lawyering: Legal Opinions in Structured Finance, Steven L. Schwarcz (Duke).

6 (5) Friends in High Places: Amity and Agreement in Alsatia, Peter Goodrich (Cardozo).

7 (9) Is Forum-Shopping Corrupting America's Bankruptcy Courts?, Todd J. Zywicki (Geo. Mason).

8 (6) On-line Boilerplate: Would Mandatory Website Disclosure of E-standard Terms Backfire?, Robert A. Hillman (Cornell).

9 (8) New Basics: 12 Principles for Fair Commerce in Mass-Market Software and Other Digital Products, Jean Braucher (Arizona).

10 (10) Evolving Business and Social Norms and Interpretation Rules: The Need for a Dynamic Approach to Contract Disputes, Nancy Kim (Cal Western).

[Frank Snyder]

September 5, 2005 in Recent Scholarship | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Bowers on formalism

James_bowers We recently got two interesting reprints in the mail from James W. Bowers (LSU).  In Murphy’s Law and the Elementary Theory of Contract Interpretation: A Response to Schwartz and Scott, 57 Rutgers L. Rev. 587 (2005), he takes issue with the claim by Alan Schwartz and Bob Scott that businesses prefer “nineteenth century formalist contract interpretation rules,” arguing instead that they prefer an “ex post problem resolving institution like common law litigation.”  An SSRN version of the paper is here.

In Put Your Nose in Your Clients’ Businesses (If You Want to Understand their Contracts), 57 Maine L. Rev. 39 (2005), he traces the decline of contract law to the failings of lawyers to respond to the real needs of businesses, “especially lawyers’ commitment to wooden, formalist legal methods.”  You can request copies from him by e-mail here.

[Frank Snyder]

September 5, 2005 in Recent Scholarship | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Happy Labor Day

Knights_of_labor_seal If classes at your law school are in session today, take comfort from the fact that Labor Day was never meant to celebrate lawyers, anyway.  The original 1882 Labor Day event was sponsored by the Noble and Holy Order of the Knights of Labor, a group open to all working people and their employers except bankers, doctors, stockbrokers, liquor manufacturers, gamblers -- and lawyers.  {Knights of Labor Seal: Wikipedia.)

[Frank Snyder]

September 5, 2005 in In the News | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Today in History

1698: Tsar Peter I of Russia puts a tax on beards in an effort to get his countrymen to look more like Frenchmen.

1774: The first Continental Congress gathers at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to consider colonial grievanaces against the British crown.  All the colonies except Georgia send delegates.

1817: The plaintiffs in Adams v. Lindsell mail the acceptance that will lead to creation of the "mailbox rule" in contracts.

1836: Former Tenessee lawyer and Governor Sam Houston is elected first president of the Republic of Texas.

1857: Isidore Marie Auguste François Xavier Comte, the "Father of Sociology," dies at Paris, France.

1874: Napoleon Lajoie is born at Woonsocket, Rhode Island.  In 1901, while he's hitting .422, he'll become the first major league baseball player to be intentionally walked with the bases loaded.

1877: Sioux war leader Crazy Horse is bayoneted to death by a U.S. Army private while resisting arrest at Fort Robinson, Nebraska.

1927: Future Federal Reserve Board Chairman Paul Adolph Volcker is born at Cape May, New Jersey.  Most of your students are too young to remember that there was a time Alan Greenspan wasn't the Fed chair.

1983: Canadian college dropout Peter Jennings becomes anchor of the ABC Evening News.

September 5, 2005 in Today in History | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, September 4, 2005

Free books for hurricane victims from Lexis/Nexis, Aspen, West/Foundation

Loyola TulaneThe major law school book publishers -- Lexis/Nexis, Aspen, and West/Foundation Press -- have agreed to provide free course materials to Loyola-New Orleans and Tulane law students displaced by Hurricane Katrina.

LexisNexis

LexisNexis' Law School Publishing group has implemented a plan to respond to the needs of law school students displaced by Hurricane Katrina. LexisNexis will provide free coursebooks to all displaced students enrolled in a law school class that requires a LexisNexis coursebook. LexisNexis will also provide free copies of relevant titles from our Understanding Series and our Q & A Series to all displaced students enrolled in a law school class that corresponds to a title in our Understanding and Q & A product lines.

To receive this assistance, an appointed school administrator (e.g., the registrar) must make this contact on behalf of the displaced student(s) who have been invited to participate in their Fall 2005 program. Requests must include:

  • Students' name
  • Mailing address
  • Email address (if any)
  • Phone number
  • Home law school
  • Author name & title of adopted LexisNexis coursebook
  • Fall 2005 course listing (to determine relevant study aid titles to send to each student).

Please send this information to: Lisa Hughes, LexisNexis Law School Sales Operations Manager, via email at [email protected], or via fax at 518.641.6090.

Aspen:

We will provide replacement titles for those students who lost Aspen books in the hurricane and its aftermath, or students who are enrolling in sections at other schools using an Aspen title different than the one they purchased. We ask that these requests come from the school – academic dean, registrar, etc. All school requests should be sent to [email protected] or 800.950.5259, where they will be given highest priority. Books will be sent to the school requestor for student distribution, unless we are directed to send to another distribution point (bookstore, direct to students, etc).

Foundation Press and West:

In an effort to assist Tulane and Loyola-New Orleans law students in need of Fall textbooks, West Law School and Foundation Press are providing new or replacement course materials free of charge to those impacted by Hurricane Katrina. Those in need should contact Christopher Hart, Director of Sales and Account Management for West Law School and Foundation Press at 800.313.9378 or [email protected]. Requests should include the name of the student's home law school, the name of the student's Fall 2005 law school, the author and title of the book(s) being requested and current shipping and contact information for the student.

[This updates earlier story by adding other publisher info.]

September 4, 2005 in In the News | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Chief Justice dies

Chief Justice William Rehnquist (Stanford Law 1952) is dead at age 80.

[Frank Snyder]

September 4, 2005 in In the News | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Lexis/Nexis: Free books to N.O. law students

Lexisnexis_logo LexisNexis Law School Publishing Group, which sponsors this Blog, has implemented a plan to respond to the needs of law school students displaced by Hurricane Katrina.  LexisNexis will provide free coursebooks to all displaced students enrolled in a law school class that requires a LexisNexis coursebook. LexisNexis will also provide free copies of relevant titles from our Understanding Series and our Q & A Series to all displaced students enrolled in a law school class that corresponds to a title in our Understanding and Q & A product lines.

To receive this assistance, an appointed school administrator (e.g., the registrar) must make this contact on behalf of the displaced student(s) who have been invited to participate in their Fall 2005 program. Requests must include:

  • Students' name
  • Mailing address
  • Email address (if any)
  • Phone number
  • Home law school
  • Author name & title of adopted LexisNexis coursebook
  • Fall 2005 course listing (to determine relevant study aid titles to send to each student).

Please send this information to: Lisa Hughes, LexisNexis Law School Sales Operations Manager, via email Lisa A. Hughes here, or via fax at 518-641-6090.

September 4, 2005 in About this Blog | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Today in History: September 4

476: The Western Roman Empire officially ends when child emperor Romulus Augustus is deposed by Germans under Odoacer.

1780: Sir John Fielding, the blind magistrate who co-founded the Bow Street Runners, London's first police force, dies at age 59.  It was said "the Blind Beak" could recognize 3,000 London criminals by the sounds of their voices.

1781: Forty-four settlers from the San Gabriel Mission found a small settlement along the Porciuncula River in California, that they name for Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles ("Our Lady the Queen of the Angels").

1888: George Eastman registers the trademark "Kodak" for his new photography business.

1918: Paul Harvey Aurandt -- he'll later drop the last name -- is born at Tulsa, Oklahoma.  Today he has 22 million listeners a week and at age 87 has a ten-year, $100 million contract with ABC radio.

1950: King Features Syndicate publishes the first of Mort Walker's Beetle Bailey comic strips.  The original characters are based on Walker's fraternity brothers at the University of Missouri-Columbia; Beetle will enter the Army during the Korean War and stay there.

1967: The last episode of Gilligan's Island, the show that Tina Louise blames for ending her career as a serious actress, airs on CBS.

1971: ABC cancels the popular but widely derided Lawrence Welk Show, on the grounds that it's too cheesy and the audience is way too old.  Today the reruns are on PBS.

1997: The last Ford Thunderbird rolls off the assembly line at Lorain, Ohio.  Five years later Ford will figure out this was a mistake and bring the marque back.

September 4, 2005 in Today in History | Permalink | TrackBack (0)