September 18, 2007
Teaching Assistants: William S. Dodge
One of the most useful pieces of legal scholarship I have ever read is William S. Dodge's Teaching the CISG in Contracts, 50 J. Legal. Educ. 72 (2000). At the time I came across Dodge's essay, I had just completed teaching a four-credit contracts class. I attended an AALS session on introducing international and comparative perspectives into the first-year curriculum with two thoughts in my mind:
1. As a student, I took a five-credit contracts course and I don't recall any mention of the CISG.
2. There was absolutely no way I was going to cram more material into my contratcs course.
Well, I attended the session, read the article, and the scales fell from my eyes. Moreover, with the assistance of Dodge's article, working a few key provisions from the CISG into a first-year contracts course -- and vitally, putting students on notice that the CISG exists and will govern international commercial agreements involving the sale of goods if not contratced around -- is really as easy as UCC 2-207. Easier even, perhaps.
Each section of the article focuses on a different doctrinal area in which the CISG differs from the UCC.or the common law, but the parts of the article that I have basically just plugged into my course are its discussions of the S.D.N.Y.'s handling of the CISG's version of the Battle of the Forms in Filanto, S.p.A. v. Chilewich Int'l Corp. (789 F.Supp. 1229 (1992) and of the Eleventh Circuit's treatment of the non-existence of the parol evidence rule in MCC-Marble Cermaic Cneter, Inc. v. Ceramica Nuova D'Agostino, S.p.A. (144 F.3d 1384 (1998). I highly recommend this readable and immensely useful introduction to the CISG.
Now, there's no way I'm going to try to discuss the new UCC in my contracts course . . . .
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