ContractsProf Blog

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Valparaiso Univ. Law School

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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Wisconsin Contracts Group Conference in October

UW The Wisconsin Contracts Group and the Wisconsin Law School announce a contracts conference to be held at Wisconsin Law School on October 21-22, 2011.  The title of the conference is: Empirical and Lyrical: Revisiting the Contracts Scholarship of Stewart Macaulay.  A website with details about the conference, including a brief description of paper topics, has been established.   Sixteen papers will be presented at the conference, by the following scholars: David Campbell, Robert W. Gordon, Ethan Leib, Brian Bix, Jay Feinman,  Gillian Hadfield, Claire Hill, Charles Knapp, Deborah Post, Edward Rubin, Carol Sanger, Robert Scott, D. Gordon Smith, Josh Whitford and Li-Wen Lin, John Wightman and William Woodward.  The conference will conclude with a banquet on Saturday, October 22, at which Stewart Macaulay will give a talk.

    All faculty and academic staff at any university are welcome to attend.  There is no conference fee.  Pre-registration is required for the conference and for the conference banquet.  For more information, see the website linked above.  Questions about registration, etc., should be directed to Pam Hollenhorst, Conference Coordinator, at pshollen@wisc.edu.  Other questions about the conference should be directed to Bill Whitford, at whitford@mailplus.wisc.edu.

[JT]

February 10, 2011 in Conferences | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Is Miss San Antonio in Breach of Contract because She Gained Weight?

Domonique Ramirez, a teenage “beauty queen,” has sued the Miss Bexar County Organization, claiming that she has been unfairly stripped of her title as “Miss San Antonio.”  The peagant organizers sent Ramirez’ parents an email revoking her crown.  They then declared the paegent runner-up the new Miss San Antonio.  Ramirez has sued for her crown back.  A judge issued a temporary restraining order against the paegant’s organizers, preventing them from giving the title to the runner-up while the lawsuit is pending.

The pageant organizers say that Ramirez violated the terms of her contract, did not attend required events, showed up late to appearances and gained weight.  According to ABC:

“As a Miss San Antonio reigning queen, she has to live up to our rules and regulations and the standards of our contract," said Linda Woods, the pageant board's spokeswoman.

Woods accused Ramirez of skipping pageant-sanctioned events to attend unauthorized paid appearances.

In the media, Woods has suggested one of the reasons Ramirez lost her title was because she had gained weight.

"She was doing a photo shoot and asked to wear her wardrobe from the competition, but it did not fit her. I told her we need to get you on an exercise program. We need to get ready to compete for Miss Texas, just like any elite athlete," Woods told ABCNews.com.

Ramirez's lawyer, Luis Vera of the League of United Latin American Citizens, called the pageant's reasons for axing the teenager "lies."

"It's just total lies. They make things up one after another," Vera said.

The lawyer said the board violated the terms of its contract and is punishing Ramirez for their errors.

"The contract says she will be chaperoned and driven to every appearance and that her parents are not allowed to attend," he said. "Then they would call her and say she needs to get to events on her own. At the time she just turned 16, how is she supposed to get there without her parents?"

Here’s a video clip about the story:

These tween and teen beauty contests seem to be very popular in many locations across the U.S. (and, heck, maybe they are popular in the NY Metro area where I grew up but I just didn’t, well, fall within the demographic).  In any event, I think they should give the crown to Olive from Little Miss Sunshine:

 [Meredith R. Miller]

February 9, 2011 in In the News, Recent Cases | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Ambassador Seeks New Posting

Yesterday's New York Times reported that Beverly Hills, California has let go its ambassador, Gregg Donovan, who for the past decade has greeted tourists in a top hat and red tailcoat with polyglot shouts of "Welcome to Beverly Hills!"  According to the Times, the official position of Beverly Hills Ambassador was created to help establish a friendlier atmosphere on Rodeo Drive after it developed a bad reputation when a fictional storekeeper demeaned a fictional prostitute played by Julia Roberts in a film about how the real lives of prostitutes are really quite a bit like the lives of every other character Ms. Roberts has ever portrayed.  This is a bit confusing, since as the clip below illustrates, the simple solution is not to have the government throw money at problems by hiring yet another public employee at taxpayer expense.  The solution, as any self-respecting woman knows, is to have a rich guy pay to enhance the self-esteem of working women.

 

Although Mr. Donovan is "without a doubt" the human being most photographed by tourists in the world, we have no copyright-free photograph to share, perhaps in part due to a contract dispute over Beverly Hills' right to continue to use Mr. Donovan's image in its brochures.  When Beverly Hills gave Mr. Donovan his notice, it sent him a separation agreement in which he was to permit the city to continue to use his image in its promotional materials.  Mr. Donovan refused to sign.  According to the Times, he will still occasionally shout greetings to people on Rodeo Drive, just out of sheer love of his vocation, but he is also looking for other gigs. 

Anybody out there looking for an ambassador?  New York?  Hollywood?  Las Vegas? 

Actually, after The Paper Chase, perhaps Harvard Law would benefit from an ambassador in Mr. Donovan's mold. 

[JT]

February 9, 2011 in Commentary, Film Clips, In the News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

New in Print

Pileofbooks Michael J. Borden, The Promissory Character of Adequate Assurances of Performance, 76 Brooklyn L. Rev. 167 (2010)

Anthony, G. Eonas & Erin M. Secord, Exploring the Creditor's Duty of Reasonable Care Under UCC Article 9 Amidst Recession and Revision, 89 Or. L. Rev. 623 (2010)

Daniel Gottschalk, Weaseling out of the Deal: Why Buyers Should Be Able to Invoke Material Adverse Change Clauses in the Wake of a Credit Crunch, 47 Houston L. Rev. 1051 (2010)

Andrew J. Kazakes, Protecting Absent Stakeholders in Foreclosure Litigation: the Foreclosure Crisis, Mortgage Modification, and State Court Responses, 43 Loy. L.A. L. Rev. 1383 (2010)

John F. O'Connor, Contrators and Courts Martial, 77 Tenn. L. Rev. 751 (2010) 

[JT[

February 9, 2011 in Recent Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

TIME OUT in the Fifth Circuit

Surgery On January 12, 2011, the Fifth Circuit issued its opinion in a contracts case, Cole v. Sandel Medical Industries.  Sandel makes medical supplies that are supposed to improve hospital safety.  In order to encourage innovation, Sandel offers small payments -- up to $4000/year for five years -- to medical professionals who submit ideas via Sandel's website.  Nearly half of the company's products are the result of such submissions, and in only one case, when the submitted idea was patentable, did Sandel pay a more substantial royalty.

After being informed by a Sandel sales rep., Jeff Penfield, of the gist of Sandel's willingness to pay for ideas, Cole, a San Antonio nurse, submitted an idea related to Sandel's TIME OUT products, which help remind medical professionals to double check that they have the right patient, the right procedure, the right -- that is, correct -- limb, organ, etc. before proceeding.  The form on which she submitted her idea -- basically a bright orange TIME OUT warning sign -- contained the following terms:

I do not give any rights in my submission to Sandel Medical Industries L.L.C.(SMI). Any rights in my submission may be givento SMI only in a future agreement between SMI and myself.

I agree not to reveal my submission (verbally or in writing) to anyone other than SMI, for one year from the date of this agreement.

SMI agrees not to use, sell, or disclose to others, any of the submitter’s information provided above. SMI accepts this submission only for evaluation. SMI and submitter shall have no further obligations to each other, unless a seperate [sic] agreement is entered into.

One year after telling Cole that it was not going to pursue her idea, Sandel began marketing an orange TIME OUT surgical towel that it later acknowledged was the product of Cole's suggestion.  Still later, Sandel claimed that it was also paying someone else for the idea and was only offering Cole a contract to maintain good relations with submitters.  Sandel offered Cole its standard compensation agreement.  She made a counteroffer, which Sandel rejected, and she then sued seeking $10 million for breach of contract and fraud.

Affirming the District Court's dismissal of the case, the Fifth Circuit found that the internet form on which Cole submitted her idea constituted nothing more than an unenforceable agreement to agree, as it lacked a price term.  The Fifth Circuit rejected Cole's alternative argument that Penfield had made an offer when he told her of Sandel's reimbursement policy which she had accepted by submitting her idea.  The Court reasoned that this offer, if such it was, was revoked by the internet submission form, which the Court construed as as superseding offer.

[JT]

February 8, 2011 in Recent Cases | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

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

December 9, 2010 to February 7, 2011

Rank

DownloadsPaper Title
1 793 Mortgage Servicing 
Adam J. LevitinTara Twomey
Georgetown University - Law Center, National Consumer Law Center, 
Date posted to database: December 18, 2010 
Last Revised: January 20, 2011
2 437 Choice of Law in the American Courts in 2010: Twenty-Fourth Annual Survey 
Symeon C. Symeonides
Willamette University - College of Law, 
Date posted to database: January 11, 2011 
Last Revised: January 25, 2011
3 211 Regulating Systemic Risk: Towards an Analytical Framework 
Iman AnabtawiSteven L. Schwarcz
University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - School of Law, Duke University - School of Law, 
Date posted to database: January 6, 2011 
Last Revised: January 7, 2011
4 137 The Role of Securitization in Mortgage Renegotiation 
Sumit AgarwalGene AmrominItzhak Ben-DavidSouphala Chomsisengphet,Douglas D. Evanoff
Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago - Economic Research, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Ohio State University - Finance Department, Fisher College of Business, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency - Economics Dept - Credit Risk Analysis Division, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, 
Date posted to database: January 17, 2011 
Last Revised: January 26, 2011
5 136 The Role of Dynamic Renegotiation and Asymmetric Information in Financial Contracting 
Michael R. Roberts
University of Pennsylvania - The Wharton School - Finance Department; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), 
Date posted to database: December 31, 2010 
Last Revised: December 31, 2010
6 122 The Uncorporation and the Unraveling of 'Nexus of Contracts' Theory 
Grant M. HaydenMatthew T. Bodie
Hofstra University - School of Law, Saint Louis University School of Law, 
Date posted to database: December 10, 2010 
Last Revised: December 15, 2010
7 122 Pregnant Man?: A Conversation 
Darren RosenblumNoa Ben-AsherMary Anne CaseElizabeth F. EmensBerta E. Hernández-TruyolVivian M. GutierrezLisa Chiyemi IkemotoAngela Onwuachi-WilligJacob Willig-OnwuachiKimberly MutchersonPeter SiegelmanBeth Jones
Pace Law School, Pace University - School of Law, University of Chicago Law School, Columbia Law School, University of Florida Levin College of Law, Unaffiliated Authors - 
affiliation not provided to SSRN, University of California, Davis - School of Law, University of Iowa College of Law, Unaffiliated Authors -affiliation not provided to SSRN, Rutgers School of Law-Camden, University of Connecticut - School of Law, Unaffiliated Authors - affiliation not provided to SSRN
Date posted to database: December 17, 2010 
Last Revised: January 5, 2011
8 85 Contract as Convention 
F. H. Buckley
George Mason University - School of Law, Faculty, 
Date posted to database: January 16, 2011 
Last Revised: February 1, 2011
9 72 Exit and the American Illness 
Erin A. O'HaraLarry E. Ribstein
Vanderbilt University - Law School, University of Illinois College of Law, 
Date posted to database: January 23, 2011 
Last Revised: February 4, 2011
10 56 Sovereign Snake Oil 
Anna GelpernG. Mitu Gulati
American University Washington College of Law, Duke University - School of Law, 
Date posted to database: January 6, 2011 
Last Revised: February 7, 2011

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

December 10, 2010 to February 8, 2011

RankDownloadsPaper Title
1 441 Choice of Law in the American Courts in 2010: Twenty-Fourth Annual Survey 
Symeon C. Symeonides
Willamette University - College of Law, 
Date posted to database: January 11, 2011 
Last Revised: January 25, 2011
2 136 The Role of Dynamic Renegotiation and Asymmetric Information in Financial Contracting 
Michael R. Roberts
University of Pennsylvania - The Wharton School - Finance Department; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), 
Date posted to database: December 31, 2010 
Last Revised: December 31, 2010
3 122 Pregnant Man?: A Conversation 
Darren RosenblumNoa Ben-AsherMary Anne CaseElizabeth F. EmensBerta E. Hernández-TruyolVivian M. GutierrezLisa Chiyemi IkemotoAngela Onwuachi-WilligJacob Willig-OnwuachiKimberly MutchersonPeter SiegelmanBeth Jones
Pace Law School, Pace University - School of Law, University of Chicago Law School, Columbia Law School, University of Florida Levin College of Law, Unaffiliated Authors - 
affiliation not provided to SSRN, University of California, Davis - School of Law, University of Iowa College of Law, Unaffiliated Authors -affiliation not provided to SSRN, Rutgers School of Law-Camden, University of Connecticut - School of Law, Unaffiliated Authors - affiliation not provided to SSRN
Date posted to database: December 17, 2010 
Last Revised: January 5, 2011
4 85 Contract as Convention 
F. H. Buckley
George Mason University - School of Law, Faculty, 
Date posted to database: January 16, 2011 
Last Revised: February 1, 2011
5 73 Exit and the American Illness 
Erin A. O'HaraLarry E. Ribstein
Vanderbilt University - Law School, University of Illinois College of Law, 
Date posted to database: January 23, 2011 
Last Revised: February 4, 2011
6 51 Legal Process and the Discovery of Better Policies for Fostering Innovation and Growth 
Henry N. ButlerLarry E. Ribstein
George Mason University - School of Law, Faculty, University of Illinois College of Law, 
Date posted to database: January 14, 2011 
Last Revised: January 17, 2011
7 46 A Toolbox for European Judges 
Martijn W. Hesselink
University of Amsterdam - Centre for the Study of European Contract Law (CSECL),
Date posted to database: December 17, 2010 
Last Revised: February 2, 2011
8 29 Privatizing the Adjudication of International Commercial Disputes: The Relevance of Organizational Form 
Kevin E. Davis
New York University (NYU) - School of Law, 
Date posted to database: January 15, 2011 
Last Revised: January 15, 2011
9 24 Promoting Business Success Through Contract Visualization 
Gerlinde Berger-WalliserRobert C. BirdHelena Haapio
ICN Business School, University of Connecticut - Department of Marketing, Lexpert Ltd, 
Date posted to database: January 21, 2011 
Last Revised: January 21, 2011
10 20 'One Truth is Clear, Whatever is, is Right': The History, Indeterminacy, and Ideological Significance of the Doctrine of Economic Duress 
Frank C. Huntington
J.D., Harvard Law School (1984); Ph.D., Brown University (1981); B.A. Swarthmore College (1974), 
Date posted to database: December 31, 2010 
Last Revised: January 6, 2011

[JT]

February 8, 2011 in Recent Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, February 7, 2011

TSA and Unions

Scanners
Last week, we brought you news of a stand-off between the Transportation Security Administration and Congress over whether or not airports should have complete freedom to choose to hire private screeners.  Over the weekend, courtesy of The New York Times, we learned of more breaking TSA news.  According to the Times, TSA director, John Pistole, has agreed to allow a union to bargain on behalf of the working conditions of TSA employees.  

But many traditional areas of collective bargaining will be off limits, and the TSA employees cannot strike.  Although TSA employees already have the right to join a union, those unions can only represent TSA employees on individual issues; they are not currently authorized to represent employees for the purposes of collective bargaining.  

Democrats applaud Mr. Pistole's decision; Republicans decry it, calling it a gift from the Obama Administration to organized labor.  The decision may in part be prompted by surveys suggesting low morale among TSA workers.  The hope is that collective bargaining can help with morale.  As we indicated last week, private screeners' compensation packages must be equivalent to those of federal employees.  Does this mean that, if TSA employees decide to join a union, that union will also effectively represent the interests of private screeners?

[JT]

February 7, 2011 in Government Contracting, In the News, Labor Contracts | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Bumped at the Superbowl

Looks like there was a bit of a kerfuffle over seating at the Superbowl (the game is on as I blog).  According to YahooNews:

Approximately 850 fans with tickets in temporary seating sections were relocated to similar or better seats. Four hundred fans who were not accommodated with seats inside the stadium will each receive a refund of $2,700 – triple the cost of the face value of their ticket.

According to the article, which is citing these angry ticket holders, "stuff blocking the seats" was the reason given for the unceremonious bump. 

Perhaps a good contracts hypo for determining damages - as one member of the crowd yelled, "what about our travel and hotel expenses?"

[Miriam Cherry]

February 6, 2011 in Sports | Permalink | TrackBack (0)