ContractsProf Blog

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

A Member of the Law Professor Blogs Network

Monday, August 27, 2007

Weekly Top 10

Ssrn A new school year is under way, and with it a new Top Ten list.  Following are the top ten most-downloaded new papers from the SSRN Journal of Contract and Commercial Law for the 60 days ending August 26, 2007.

1 Usury Law, Payday Loans, and Statutory Slight of Hand: An Empirical Analysis of American Credit Pricing Limits, Christopher Lewis Peterson (Florida).

2 Consumer Protection in the United States: An Overview, Spencer Weber Waller & Jillian G. Brady (Loyola-Chicago).

3 You Asked for it, You Got it...Toy Yoda: Practical Jokes, Prizes, and Contract Law, Keith A. Rowley (UNLV/Alabama)

4 The Other Side of the Picket Line: Contract, Democracy, and Power in a Law School Classroom, Richard Michael Fischl (Connecticut).

5  A Positive Law Theory of Contract, Fergus Farrow (Victorian Bar).

6 Anti-Social Contracts: The Contractual Governance of Online Communities, Joshua Fairfield (Indiana-Bloomington).

7  Renting the Good Life, Jim Hawkins (Independent).

8  Economics of Contract Law, Cento Veljanovski (Case Associates).

9 A Study of Interest, John Y. Gotanda (Villanova).

10  Aboutness, Thingness, and Morphosity: A Pragmatic Ontology of Formal Systems in Law, Jeffrey M. Lipshaw (Suffolk).

[Frank Snyder]

August 27, 2007 in Recent Scholarship | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

We Don't Need No Stinkin' Lawyers!

Business_20 Who says we don't?  Business 2.0 Magazine, that's who!  In it's August 2007 issue, Business 2.0  features the "29 Best Business Ideas in the World," and the very best idea of all -- that's right, #1 -- is "let's get rid of the lawyers." 

Ah, you say, but that idea is at least as old as Shakespeare,
True enough, says Spanish startup, Negotiation, but it nonetheless has launched "Tractis," a web platform that, according to Business 2.0 "lets users create, manage, and execute contracts online -- no lawyers required." 

The article in Business 2.0 goes on to quote Negotiation CEO David Blanco as follows: "The biggest problem with online contracts now is enforcement.  If you reach an agreement with another person and something goes wrong, how do you enforce the contract and in which jurisdiction?  How do you know the true identity of someone calling himself snake69@hotmail.com?  Tractis' proposed solution is "a comprehensive range of trust and verification systems." 

Hmmm.  I wonder if Mr. Blanco has identified the biggest problem or only the initial problem.  What happens once you identify snake69 and you want to sue him?  Don't you need a stinkin' lawyer for that?  And what if snake69 has a stinkin' lawyer and a contract that he knows will favor him because his stinkin' lawyer told him which one to choose on the Tractis database?

Hat tip: James Saqui

[Jeremy Telman]

August 15, 2007 in Commentary, E-commerce, In the News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

1-800-Promises

ImagesWe might be a little late on this one, but here's a tale to begin the semester: A man orders flowers for his girlfriend from 1-800-FLOWERS. Because the man lives with his wife, he asks that the order be kept private and that no record of the transaction be mailed to him at his home or office. Apparently, 1-800-FLOWERS promises to keep the order private. Then, months later, the company sends a thank you note to the man's home, and his wife calls the company for proof of purchase - which the company faxes to his wife. Lawsuit1: divorce. Lawsuit2: The man sues 1-800-FLOWERS for breach of contract - it did, after all, promise to keep the purchase private. His damages? Spousal support?

[Meredith R. Miller; H/T Mom and Above the Law]

August 15, 2007 in In the News | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Friday, August 3, 2007

Changing One's Mind

An interesting story via Australia, that (yes) involves eBay:
An Australian court ordered a man to hand over a vintage plane worth about $215,000 after he tried to back out of an eBay auction, a newspaper reported Friday.

The New South Wales state Supreme Court ordered Vin Thomas to complete the deal after he changed his mind about selling the 1946 World War II Wirraway plane he had placed on the Internet auction site last year, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

Peter Smythe, a Australian warplane enthusiast, was the only person to bid on the item, matching the $128,640 reserve price just moments before the auction ended in August last year.

But Thomas had already agreed to sell the plane to someone else for $85,800 more than Smythe's offer, and backed out of the sale, the newspaper said.

Smythe took Thomas to court, hoping a judge would force him to follow through with the deal.

Judge Nigel Rein agreed, saying the eBay auction formed "a binding contract between the plaintiff and the defendant and ... should be specifically enforced."

[Miriam Cherry / Hat tip: Beth Winston (Catholic)]

August 3, 2007 in E-commerce | Permalink | TrackBack (0)