ContractsProf Blog

Editor: Myanna Dellinger
University of South Dakota School of Law

Friday, September 16, 2011

Josh Hamilton's Grand Slam as a Fun Pre-Midterm Review

Josh%20Hamilton Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton previously has earned media attention in some rather depressing ways, including via his own battle with drug addiction and his attempt to throw a ball to a fan that led to the fan's death.  This time, he is in the news for something that makes others--including Contracts professors--very happy.  A Texas flooring retailer recently ran a promotion promising a refund on their flooring purchase if Hamilton hit a grand slam during September.  And he did!  Click here for the story, the actual ad "as seen on TV," and some written commentary.  I think the clip serves as a fun way to review some contracts issues just prior to midterms.  My students saw partial parallels to Lefkowitz, Leonard, and even Carbolic Smoke Ball and I'm sure there are others.  Go Rangers!

[HR Anderson w/ hat tip to student Matthew Lynn]

September 16, 2011 in Current Affairs, Sports, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Breaking: Stuffed Bear Removed from Upstate New York Courthouse

This story is barely (get it?) contract law related, but I just renewed my promise to Jeremy to post to the blog once a week and he did not specify any requirement that the posts be contract related.  And, in any event, this New York Law Journal story is written for the blogs:

Months before the onset of winter, the Office of Court Administration has sent into hibernation a 7-foot-tall stuffed bear that briefly made the lobby of the Sullivan County Courthouse in Monticello its lair.

"My position was it takes away from the decorum of the facility," Judge Michael V. Coccoma, the deputy chief administrator for courts outside of New York City, said in an interview yesterday. "It's not that I have anything against taxidermy. But given the seriousness of the business we do in our courts, I felt it was a distraction."

The bear now prowls the private chambers of Acting Supreme Court Justice Frank LaBuda (See Profile), who says it is "beautiful" and "magnificent.

Where did the bear come from?

The bear was killed in October 2006 with a bow by local hunter David Purdy in nearby White Lake. Mr. Purdy asked Justice LaBuda in August if the judge had room for the creature, one of the largest ever taken in the county, in his home.

The judge said he did not, but the bear might find quarters, at least temporarily, in the courthouse where it could serve as a tribute to the area's ecology and love for hunting. By Sept. 2, it was stationed near the post of court officers who quickly dubbed it "Smokey."

A stuffed bear as a symbol of conservation? Justice LaBuda thought so:

"People want to see the bear," Justice LaBuda said. "Actually, it is a tribute to conservation in our state. As you know, black bears were almost extinct in the state except in the Adirondacks. Now, they are actually so plentiful that some people think they are a nuisance here."

You can read the rest of Joel Stashenko's reporting on the bear's eviction here, including a picture of Smokey, Justice LaBuda and Mr. Purdy.

It just so happens that this week's viral video is a commercial for Chuck Testa's taxidermy service.  Wonder if he stuffed the bear:

[Meredith R. Miller]



September 16, 2011 in In the News, Miscellaneous | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Court of Federal Claims to RN Expertise: "Piss Off!"


Slow news day. . . . and we couldn't resist.

Back in 2008, the Navy sought a new contractor to provide urine collection services for its federally-mandated rug testing program.  RN Expertise, Inc. (RN) submitted a bid and was the prsumptive awardee of the contract.  But before it finalized the award, the Navy determined that it could get the same services at a lower price through an interagency agreement (IAA) that the Department of Defense had with the Dpartment of the Interior.  So, the Navy cancelled the solicitation and went with the IAA.

RN filed a bid protest, claiming that the Navy's cost analysis was flawed.  In February 2011, the Court of Federal Claims granted the governments motion for judgment on the administrative record and dismissed RN's bid protest, RN Expertise, Inc. v. United States, 97 Fed. Cl. 460 (2011).  In March, RN moved for reconsideration, claiming that the CoFC's decision did not account for key facts and thus resulted in a manifest injustice.  On September 9th, the CoFC issued a new opinion, denying the motion and finding that RN simply sought to relitigate its case.

In its motion for reconsideration, RN argued that the CoFC erred in the way it tested the Navy's cost analysis and that the Navy failed to consider all of the costs associated with the IAA.  The CoFC found both of these argument improper on a motion for reconsideration.  In its first argument, RN merely raised facts and arguments that the CoFC previously addressed and rejected.  In its second, RN raised arguments that could have been raised in its original briefs.  Having failed to do so, it is not entitled to a second bite at the apple.


September 16, 2011 in Government Contracting, Recent Cases | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Contracts Job in the Army Corps of Engineers

Job Title: Attorney-Advisor (Contracts)

Department: Department Of The Army

Agency: Army Corps of Engineers

Job Announcement Number: SCGV11025635R

Corps of Engineers


$81,823.00 - $106,369.00 /year


Friday, September 09, 2011 to Wednesday, October 19, 2011




- This is a Permanent position. -- Full Time


1 vacancy - FL - Jacksonville


US Citizens


Challenge Yourself - Be an Army Civilian - Go Army! 
Civilian employees serve a vital role in supporting the Army mission. They provide the skills that are not readily available in the military, but crucial to support military operations. The Army integrates the talents and skills of its military and civilian members to form a Total Army.

Furnishes expert legal advice and advocacy in the area of government contract law to the Jacksonville District Command and staff. Reviews and provides advice regarding government contract strategies and documents such as acquisition plans, solicitations for bids and requests for proposals, plans and specifications, task orders, and contract modif...

About the Position: Serves as a senior attorney with other attorneys in the procurement practice group of the Jacksonville District Office of Counsel to help ensure the successful implementation of civil works and military construction projects. Duties are performed under the general supervision of the District Counsel; however, all duties including the management of the caseload and the development of legal strategy are performed independently in coordination as appropriate with the District Counsel, other members of the Office of Counsel and its procurement practice group, the District Commander and staff, other Corps of Engineers┬┐ offices, the Department of Justice, and other federal agencies. Contract issues and disputes can be complex, subject to political attention, and involve large sums of money. Opposing parties are often represented by attorneys who specialize in the practice of government contract law and are recognized as experts in their field.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District, Office of Legal Counsel, Jacksonville, FL 32207

More information is available here.


September 14, 2011 in Help Wanted | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Weekly Top Tens from the Social Science Research Network

SSRN RECENT HITS (for all papers announced in the last 60 days)
TOP 10 Papers for Journal of Contracts & Commercial Law eJournal
July 14, 2011 to September 12, 2011

Rank Downloads Paper Title
1 642 How Markets Work: The Lawyer's Version
Mark C. Weidemaier, G. Mitu Gulati 
2 185 Managing Disputes Through Contract: Evidence from M&A
John C. Coates, IV
3 170 Non-Recourse, No Down Payment and the Mortgage Meltdown: Lessons from Undercapitalization
Dov Solomon, Odelia Minnes
4 158 Subprime: Why a Free and Democratic Society Needs Law
Joseph William Singer
5 121 Contract Drafting: A Prerequisite to Teaching Transactional Negotiation
Tina L. Stark
6 115 Contract as Meaning: An Introduction to 'Contract as Promise at 30'
Jeffrey M. Lipshaw
7 86 Skin-in-the-Game: Risk Retention Lessons from Credit Card Securitization
Adam J. Levitin
8 85 Measurement of Restitution: Coordinating Restitution with Compensatory Damages and Punitive Damages
Doug Rendleman
9 83 Remoteness Re-Invented?
David McLauchlan
10 76

Why There is No Duty to Pay Damages: Powers, Duties, and Private Law
Nathan B. Oman


RECENT HITS (for all papers announced in the last 60 days)
TOP 10 Papers for Journal of LSN: Contracts (Topic)

July 14, 2011 to September 12, 2011

Rank Downloads Paper Title
1 641 How Markets Work: The Lawyer's Version
Mark C. Weidemaier, G. Mitu Gulati
2 121 Contract Drafting: A Prerequisite to Teaching Transactional Negotiation
Tina L. Stark
3 67 The Irony of AT&T v. Concepcion
Colin P. Marks
4 65 To Perform or Pay Damages
Gregory Klass
5 56 Bringing Order to Contracts Against Public Policy
David Adam Friedman
6 55 Contracting for Procedure
Kevin E. Davis, Helen Hershkoff
7 54 Law as a ByProduct: Theories of Private Law Production
Bruce H. Kobayashi, Larry E. Ribstein
8 44 Restitution and Relationships
Hanoch Dagan
9 34 The Nature of Contractual Indemnities
Wayne Courtney
10 34 Private Regulation of Consumer Arbitration
Christopher R. Drahozal, Samantha Zyontz


September 13, 2011 in Recent Scholarship | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Monday, September 12, 2011

The New Yorker on Contracting Out for City Work

New Yorker The September 5th edition of The New Yorker has a nifty article by Tad Friend about the budgetary problems cities are facing -- the article focuses on Costa Mesa, California, but notes that its problems are not unique.   The story is a familiar one, but the reporting is great and the details are extreme.   

The problem is a small city whose budget is tied up in personnel costs, including a 911 operator making $176,000 and a new mayor who decides to address a reported $5 million budget deficit by firing half the staff.  The new mayor plans to give city workers their notice and then solicit bids to see which jobs can be more cheaply done by employing independent contractors.  The mayor also seems to think that hiring such contractors will insulate the city from liability, although that wouldn't always be the case.  

The flip side of the overpaid 911 operator is the dedicated maintenance worker who works for the city for four years and makes $45,600/year.  He does for $26/hour what a contractor would charge $40/hour to do.  Upon receiving his layoff notice, one such worker jumped off the roof of City Hall.  An already bitter struggle now turned bloody.  Moreover, the city has over $40 million in reserves.  Some residents wondered why "Costa Mesa should be the petri dish for pension reform."  An ally of the new mayor, who is a councilman and also the head of the local Pop Warner football league wasn't about to back down.  Friend quotes him as follows:

Politics is very similiar to Pop Warner.  People think they can bully you into making their son the quarterback, but once they realize their son's a lineman they stop bothering you.

Building to his conclusion, Friend makes the following observation about leadership:

Good leaders make unpopular decisions because they're necessary.  But they also work to explain and build support for their initiatives, especially when those initiatives threaten a way of life.

This is an important insight, not only for political leaders but also for university leaders in times of shrinking budgets and rising costs.


September 12, 2011 in Government Contracting, In the News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)