ContractsProf Blog

Editor: Myanna Dellinger
University of South Dakota School of Law

Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Remedies Question Again

When I was a student my contracts teacher was Richard Fielding. He was as Socratic as he could be. I thing the first day he walked in and said: "Mr Harrison, What is my name." Ok, well not that Socratic but very talented and I loved it.  He used Kessler and Gilmore and I found the book dense but more interesting than virtually any of the books around today.

Now, however, as teachers and realists, contracts teachers are faced with two questions at the beginning of each semester: 1) When and how much to cover remedies? and 2) in a 4 credit course what gets left out?  (Part of this post is inspired by a recent inquiry over on the contracts listserv about the history of teaching remedies first.)  I'd really like some comments on these questions since I and trying to get it "right" at least one time before I finish with contracts.

My personal history has gone from starting with about a month of remedies at the  outset (in a two semester course) to a one week introduction to remedies at the beginning with a return later on. I do this so that when I get to consideration the students have an understanding of the remedial implications of a contract, liability based on promisory estoppel, and whether there is any way to recover if neither  of those apply.  If any readers do not do this, I'd really be interested in how they treat contractual as opposed to PE remedies.  

On leaving things out, I typically do not teach Statute of Frauds, although I alert them to its existence, because I figure any decent bar review lecture will cover it when they need it. And, like so many others, assignment and delegation and third party beneficiaries also get the heave ho. I am very keen on including the UCC  but not even close to replacing a sales course. 

So what is the thinking on these two questions. I am preparing my syllabus in the next week and could use some new thinking.

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