ContractsProf Blog

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

A Member of the Law Professor Blogs Network

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

New on SSRN from Robin Kar

Robin Kar (pictured) has just posted an ambitious piece, Contract as Empowerment: A New Theory of Contract on SSRN.  The submission is still under review right now, so you can be among the first to download it!  Here is the abstract:

KarModern contract theory is in a quandary. As Alan Schwartz and Robert E. Scott have observed: “Contract law has neither a complete descriptive theory, explaining what the law is, nor a complete normative theory, explaining what the law should be.” This article aims to cure these deficiencies with a novel theory, “Contract as Empowerment”.

Contract as Empowerment is a deontological (duty-based) theory, rooted in a special strand of social contract theory known as “contractualism”. The theory nevertheless differs from more familiar deontological theories, which are typically rooted in moral intuitions about promising, autonomy or reliance. Because of its foundation in social contract theory, contract as empowerment can absorb a number of important economic and psychological insights, which have traditionally given efficiency theories explanatory advantages over traditional deontological theories. But contract as empowerment can absorb these insights without subjecting them to thoroughgoing economic interpretation. It can thereby produce a more robust, unified and normatively satisfying account of many core areas of doctrine. Among other things, contract as empowerment offers a more compelling account of the consideration doctrine than exists in the current literature; a better account of the expectation damages remedy (both descriptively and morally); and a special way of understanding the appropriate role of certain doctrines like unconscionability, which regulate private market activity by making the scope or content of contractual obligations depend on facts other than contracting parties’ subjective wills. 

This last fact provides a major point of contrast with most existing theories of contract. One of the most striking features of the way that standard debates between deontological and consequentialist theories have been framed in this area of the law is that general theories on both sides typically share a key implication. They imply that legal doctrines that invite courts to police bargains for fairness reflect alien intrusions into the basic subject matter of contract. Contract as empowerment suggests that this framing has been distorting our understanding of contracts (and hence modern markets) for some time now. It offers an alternative framework, which understands both private market empowerment and some market regulations as direct expressions of the same fundamental principles. Because this framework is principled, it can help depoliticize a range of currently heated debates about the appropriate scope and role of market regulation. This framework can be applied to many different forms of market exchange—from those in consumer goods to labor, finance, credit, mortgages and many others.

This article is the first in a two part series. Contract as Empowerment introduces and develops the theory of contract as empowerment. Contract as Empowerment II applies the theory to a range of doctrinal problems and argues that contract as empowerment offers the best general interpretation of contract law.

Professor Kar promises that a follow-up article is coming soon.  Stay tuned.

August 6, 2014 in Contract Profs, Recent Scholarship | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Weekly Top Tens from the Social Science Research Network

SSRNSSRN Top Downloads For Contracts & Commercial Law eJournal
RECENT TOP PAPERS 

RankDownloadsPaper Title
1 271 The Privatization of Compliance 
Scott Killingsworth 
Bryan Cave LLP 
2 194 A Psychological Account of Consent to Fine Print 
Tess Wilkinson‐Ryan 
University of Pennsylvania Law School 
3 163 The Scope and Potential of FTC Data Protection 
Woodrow Hartzog and Daniel J. Solove 
Samford University - Cumberland School of Law and George Washington University Law School 
4 159 Facilitating Mergers and Acquisitions with Earnouts and Purchase Price Adjustments 
Albert H. Choi 
University of Virginia School of Law 
5 141 Bylaws Mandating Arbitration of Stockholder Disputes? 
Claudia H Allen 
Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP
6 134 Bankers and Chancellors 
William W. Bratton and Michael L. Wachter 
Institute for Law and Economics, University of Pennsylvania Law School and University of Pennsylvania Law School - Institute for Law and Economics 
7 100 Governing Law on Forum-Selection Agreements 
Kevin M. Clermont 
Cornell Law School 
8 99 What We Consent to When We Consent to Form Contracts: Market Price 
Kenneth K. Ching 
Regent University - School of Law 
9 67 Alternative Entities in Delaware -- Reintroduction of Fiduciary Concepts by the Backdoor? 
Douglas M. Branson 
University of Pittsburgh School of Law 
10 67 The Construction of Commercial Contracts 
John Carter 
University of Sydney - Faculty of Law 

SSRN Top Downloads For LSN: Contracts (Topic)
RECENT TOP PAPERS 

RankDownloadsPaper Title
1 194 A Psychological Account of Consent to Fine Print 
Tess Wilkinson‐Ryan 
University of Pennsylvania Law School 
2 99 What We Consent to When We Consent to Form Contracts: Market Price 
Kenneth K. Ching 
Regent University - School of Law 
3 67 Alternative Entities in Delaware -- Reintroduction of Fiduciary Concepts by the Backdoor? 
Douglas M. Branson 
University of Pittsburgh School of Law
4 67 The Construction of Commercial Contracts 
John Carter 
University of Sydney - Faculty of Law 
5 61 Of Priors and of Disconnects 
Margaret Jane Radin 
University of Michigan Law School 
6 60 Good Faith and Fair Dealing as an Underenforced Legal Norm 
Paul MacMahon 
London School of Economics - Law Department 
7 57 A Eulogy for the EULA 
Miriam A. Cherry 
Saint Louis University - School of Law 
8 54 Consent and Sensibility: A Review of Margaret Jane Radin's Book, 'Boilerplate: The Fine Print, Vanishing Rights, and the Rule of Law' 
Michelle Boardman 
George Mason University School of Law 
9 51 FAA Preemption after Concepcion 
Christopher R. Drahozal 
University of Kansas School of Law 
10 47 The Death of Contracts 
Franklin G. Snyder and Ann M. Mirabito 
Texas A&M University School of Law and Baylor University - Hankamer School of Business 

 

August 5, 2014 in Recent Scholarship | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

New in Print

Pile of BooksDavid Crump, Should the Commercial Landlord Have a Duty to Mitigate Damages after the Tenant Abandons? A Legal and Economic Analysis, 49 Wake Forest L. Rev. 187 (2014)

Robert W. Emerson, Franchise Contract Interpretation: A Two-Standard Approach, 2013 Mich. St. L. Rev. 641

Kish Vinayagamoorthy, Apologies in the Marketplace, 33 Pace L. Rev. 1081 (2013)

Eric Zacks, Shame, Regret, and Contract Design, 97 Marq. L. Rev. 695 (2014)

July 30, 2014 in Recent Scholarship | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Weekly Top Tens from the Social Science Research Network

SSRNSSRN Top Downloads For Contracts & Commercial Law eJournal
RECENT TOP PAPERS

RankDownloadsPaper Title
1 261 The Privatization of Compliance 
Scott Killingsworth 
Bryan Cave LLP 
2 189 Beauty and Ugliness in Offer and Acceptance 
Kenneth K. Ching 
Regent University - School of Law 
3 185 A Psychological Account of Consent to Fine Print 
Tess Wilkinson‐Ryan 
University of Pennsylvania Law School 
4 149 The Scope and Potential of FTC Data Protection 
Woodrow Hartzog and Daniel J. Solove 
Samford University - Cumberland School of Law and George Washington University Law School
5 130 Ending Class Actions as We Know Them: Rethinking the American Class Action 
Linda S. Mullenix 
University of Texas School of Law 
6 129 Bankers and Chancellors 
William W. Bratton and Michael L. Wachter 
Institute for Law and Economics, University of Pennsylvania Law School and University of Pennsylvania Law School - Institute for Law and Economics 
7 127 Facilitating Mergers and Acquisitions with Earnouts and Purchase Price Adjustments 
Albert H. Choi 
University of Virginia School of Law
8 119 Bylaws Mandating Arbitration of Stockholder Disputes? 
Claudia H Allen 
Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP 
9 95 What We Consent to When We Consent to Form Contracts: Market Price 
Kenneth K. Ching 
Regent University - School of Law 
10 93 Nationalize the Clearinghouses! 
Stephen J. Lubben 
Seton Hall University - School of Law 

SSRN Top Downloads For LSN: Contracts (Topic)
RECENT TOP PAPERS

RankDownloadsPaper Title
1 189 Beauty and Ugliness in Offer and Acceptance 
Kenneth K. Ching 
Regent University - School of Law 
2 185 A Psychological Account of Consent to Fine Print 
Tess Wilkinson‐Ryan 
University of Pennsylvania Law School 
3 95 What We Consent to When We Consent to Form Contracts: Market Price 
Kenneth K. Ching 
Regent University - School of Law 
4 68 'Selling Out' and the Impact of Music Piracy on Artist Entry 
Joshua S. Gans 
University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management 
5 62 Alternative Entities in Delaware -- Reintroduction of Fiduciary Concepts by the Backdoor? 
Douglas M. Branson 
University of Pittsburgh School of Law 
6 61 Of Priors and of Disconnects 
Margaret Jane Radin 
University of Michigan Law School 
7 60 The Construction of Commercial Contracts 
John Carter 
University of Sydney - Faculty of Law
8 56 Behavioral Trade-Offs 
Yuval Feldman and Orly Lobel 
Bar-Ilan University - Faculty of Law and University of San Diego School of Law 
9 54 Good Faith and Fair Dealing as an Underenforced Legal Norm 
Paul MacMahon 
London School of Economics - Law Department 
10 53 A Eulogy for the EULA 
Miriam A. Cherry 
Saint Louis University - School of Law 

 

July 29, 2014 in Recent Scholarship | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

New in Print

Pile of BooksKenneth A. Adams, Adrian J. Walters & Robert L. Eisenbach III, Termination-on-Bankruptcy Provisions: Some Proposed Language, Business Law Today 1 (June 2014)

Mark Anderson, The Enigma of the Single Entity, 16 U. Pa. J. Bus. L. 497 (2014) 

Richard Frankel, The Arbitration Clause As Super Contract, 91 Wash. U. L. Rev. 531 (2014)

Barbara A. Lee, Student-Faculty Academic Conflicts: Emerging Legal Theories and Judicial Review, 83 Miss. L.J. 837 (2014)

Ganesh Sitaraman, Contracting around Citizens United, 114 Colum. L. Rev. 755 (2014)

Tess Wilkinson-Ryan, A Psychological Account of Consent to Fine Print. 99 Iowa L. Rev. 1745 (2014)

Perry A. Zirkel, Procedural and Substantive Student Challenges to Disciplinary Sanctions at Private--As Compared with Public--Institutions of Higher Education: A Glaring Gap? 83 Miss. L.J. 863 (2014) 

July 23, 2014 in Recent Scholarship | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Weekly Top Tens from the Social Science Research Network

SSRNSSRN Top Downloads For Contracts & Commercial Law eJournal
RECENT TOP PAPERS 

RankDownloadsPaper Title
1 250 The Privatization of Compliance 
Scott Killingsworth 
Bryan Cave LLP 
2 186 Beauty and Ugliness in Offer and Acceptance 
Kenneth K. Ching 
Regent University - School of Law
3 178 A Psychological Account of Consent to Fine Print 
Tess Wilkinson‐Ryan 
University of Pennsylvania Law School 
4 128 Bankers and Chancellors 
William W. Bratton and Michael L. Wachter 
Institute for Law and Economics, University of Pennsylvania Law School and University of Pennsylvania Law School - Institute for Law and Economics 
5 106 Ending Class Actions as We Know Them: Rethinking the American Class Action 
Linda S. Mullenix 
University of Texas School of Law 
6 85 Bylaws Mandating Arbitration of Stockholder Disputes? 
Claudia H Allen 
Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP 
7 68 'Gap Filling' by Arbitrators 
Alan Scott Rau 
University of Texas at Austin School of Law 
8 66 The Costs of Corporate Bankruptcy: How Little We Know 
Stephen J. Lubben 
Seton Hall University - School of Law 
9 66 Fraud and Abuse in Mesothelioma Litigation 
Lester Brickman 
Yeshiva University - Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law 
10 60 Governing Law on Forum-Selection Agreements 
Kevin M. Clermont 
Cornell Law School

SSRN Top Downloads For LSN: Contracts (Topic)
RECENT TOP PAPERS

 

RankDownloadsPaper Title
1 186 Beauty and Ugliness in Offer and Acceptance 
Kenneth K. Ching 
Regent University - School of Law 
2 178 A Psychological Account of Consent to Fine Print 
Tess Wilkinson‐Ryan 
University of Pennsylvania Law School 
3 68 'Gap Filling' by Arbitrators 
Alan Scott Rau 
University of Texas at Austin School of Law 
4 67 'Selling Out' and the Impact of Music Piracy on Artist Entry 
Joshua S. Gans 
University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management 
5 58 Of Priors and of Disconnects 
Margaret Jane Radin 
University of Michigan Law School 
6 55 Behavioral Trade-Offs 
Yuval Feldman and Orly Lobel 
Bar-Ilan University - Faculty of Law and University of San Diego School of Law
7 53 Between Property Law and Contract Law: The Case of Securities 
Matthias Haentjens 
Leiden University - Leiden Law School 
8 53 Alternative Entities in Delaware -- Reintroduction of Fiduciary Concepts by the Backdoor? 
Douglas M. Branson 
University of Pittsburgh School of Law 
9 52 A Eulogy for the EULA 
Miriam A. Cherry 
Saint Louis University - School of Law 
10 51 Good Faith and Fair Dealing as an Underenforced Legal Norm 
Paul MacMahon 
London School of Economics - Law Department 

 

July 22, 2014 in Recent Scholarship | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

New in Print

Pile of BooksJuana Coetzee, The Interplay between INCOTERMS and the CISG, 32 J.L. & Com. 1 (2013).

Robert W. Emerson & Jason R. Parnell, Franchise Hostages: Fast Food, God, and Politics, 29 J.L. & Pol. 353 (2014)

Daniel Goller & Alexander Stremitzer, Breach Remedies Inducing Hybrid Investments, 37 Int'l Rev. L. & Econ. 26 (2014)

Daniel B. Kelly, The Right to Include, 63 Emory L.J. 857 (2014)

Lea-Rachel Kosnik, Determinants of Contract Completeness: An Environmental Regulatory Application, 37 Int'l Rev. L. & Econ. 198 (2014) 

Robert T. Miller, The Coasean Dissolution of Corporate Social Responsibility, 17 Chapman L. Rev. 381 (2014)

Joel D. Hesch, The False Claims Act Creates a "Zone of Protection" that Bars Suits against Employees Who Report Fraud against the Government, 62 Drake L. Rev. 361 (2014)

July 16, 2014 in Recent Scholarship | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Weekly Top Tens from the Social Science Research Network

SSRNSSRN Top Downloads For Contracts & Commercial Law eJournal
RECENT TOP PAPERS

RankDownloadsPaper Title
1 235 The Privatization of Compliance 
Scott Killingsworth 
Bryan Cave LLP 
2 177 Beauty and Ugliness in Offer and Acceptance 
Kenneth K. Ching 
Regent University - School of Law 
3 171 A Psychological Account of Consent to Fine Print 
Tess Wilkinson‐Ryan 
University of Pennsylvania Law School 
4 124 Bankers and Chancellors 
William W. Bratton and Michael L. Wachter 
Institute for Law and Economics, University of Pennsylvania Law School and University of Pennsylvania Law School - Institute for Law and Economics 
5 123 Personal and Proprietary Remedies for Breach of Confidence: Nearer to Breach of Fiduciary Duty or Breach of Contract? 
Graham Virgo 
University of Cambridge - Faculty of Law 
6 82 Bylaws Mandating Arbitration of Stockholder Disputes? 
Claudia H Allen 
Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP 
7 78 The First Sale Doctrine and the Economics of Post-Sale Restraints 
Ariel Katz 
University of Toronto - Faculty of Law 
8 65 'Gap Filling' by Arbitrators 
Alan Scott Rau 
University of Texas at Austin School of Law 
9 62 The Costs of Corporate Bankruptcy: How Little We Know 
Stephen J. Lubben 
Seton Hall University - School of Law 
10 61 Ending Class Actions as We Know Them: Rethinking the American Class Action 
Linda S. Mullenix 
University of Texas School of Law 

SSRN Top Downloads For LSN: Contracts (Topic)
RECENT TOP PAPERS 

RankDownloadsPaper Title
1 177 Beauty and Ugliness in Offer and Acceptance 
Kenneth K. Ching 
Regent University - School of Law 
2 171 A Psychological Account of Consent to Fine Print 
Tess Wilkinson‐Ryan 
University of Pennsylvania Law School 
3 123 Personal and Proprietary Remedies for Breach of Confidence: Nearer to Breach of Fiduciary Duty or Breach of Contract? 
Graham Virgo 
University of Cambridge - Faculty of Law 
4 66 'Selling Out' and the Impact of Music Piracy on Artist Entry 
Joshua S. Gans 
University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management
5 65 'Gap Filling' by Arbitrators 
Alan Scott Rau 
University of Texas at Austin School of Law 
6 57 Of Priors and of Disconnects 
Margaret Jane Radin 
University of Michigan Law School 
7 53 Behavioral Trade-Offs 
Yuval Feldman and Orly Lobel 
Bar-Ilan University - Faculty of Law and University of San Diego School of Law 
8 53 Between Property Law and Contract Law: The Case of Securities 
Matthias Haentjens 
Leiden University - Leiden Law School 
9 49 A Eulogy for the EULA 
Miriam A. Cherry 
Saint Louis University - School of Law 
10 49 Good Faith and Fair Dealing as an Underenforced Legal Norm 
Paul MacMahon 
London School of Economics - Law Department

 

July 15, 2014 in Recent Scholarship | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Weekly Top Tens from the Social Science Research Network

SSRNSSRN Top Downloads For Contracts & Commercial Law eJournal
RECENT TOP PAPERS

RankDownloadsPaper Title
1 215 The Privatization of Compliance 
Scott Killingsworth 
Bryan Cave LLP 
2 157 A Psychological Account of Consent to Fine Print 
Tess Wilkinson‐Ryan 
University of Pennsylvania Law School 
3 144 Beauty and Ugliness in Offer and Acceptance 
Kenneth K. Ching 
Regent University - School of Law
4 128 A Study of the Risks of Contract Ambiguity 
Preston M. Torbert 
University of Chicago Law School 
5 121 Personal and Proprietary Remedies for Breach of Confidence: Nearer to Breach of Fiduciary Duty or Breach of Contract? 
Graham Virgo 
University of Cambridge - Faculty of Law 
6 118 Bankers and Chancellors 
William W. Bratton and Michael L. Wachter 
Institute for Law and Economics, University of Pennsylvania Law School and University of Pennsylvania Law School - Institute for Law and Economics 
7 83 Review Essay: Reading the Dream Machine: The Untold Story of the Notorious V-22 Osprey, by Richard Whittle, in Light of the Defense Acquisition Performance Study 
Steven L. Schooner and Nathaniel E. Castellano 
George Washington University - Law School and George Washington University - Law School 
8 77 Bylaws Mandating Arbitration of Stockholder Disputes? 
Claudia H Allen 
Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP
9 75 The First Sale Doctrine and the Economics of Post-Sale Restraints 
Ariel Katz 
University of Toronto - Faculty of Law 
10 63 'Gap Filling' by Arbitrators 
Alan Scott Rau 
University of Texas at Austin School of Law 

SSRN Top Downloads For LSN: Contracts (Topic)
RECENT TOP PAPERS 

RankDownloadsPaper Title
1 157 A Psychological Account of Consent to Fine Print 
Tess Wilkinson‐Ryan 
University of Pennsylvania Law School 
2 143 Beauty and Ugliness in Offer and Acceptance 
Kenneth K. Ching 
Regent University - School of Law 
3 128 A Study of the Risks of Contract Ambiguity 
Preston M. Torbert 
University of Chicago Law School 
4 121 Personal and Proprietary Remedies for Breach of Confidence: Nearer to Breach of Fiduciary Duty or Breach of Contract? 
Graham Virgo 
University of Cambridge - Faculty of Law 
5 64 'Selling Out' and the Impact of Music Piracy on Artist Entry 
Joshua S. Gans 
University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management 
6 63 'Gap Filling' by Arbitrators 
Alan Scott Rau 
University of Texas at Austin School of Law 
7 57 Of Priors and of Disconnects 
Margaret Jane Radin 
University of Michigan Law School 
8 50 Between Property Law and Contract Law: The Case of Securities 
Matthias Haentjens 
Leiden University - Leiden Law School 
9 50 Behavioral Trade-Offs 
Yuval Feldman and Orly Lobel 
Bar-Ilan University - Faculty of Law and University of San Diego School of Law 
10 48 A Eulogy for the EULA 
Miriam A. Cherry 
Saint Louis University - School of Law 

 

 

July 8, 2014 in Government Contracting, Recent Scholarship | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

New in Print

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Weekly Top Tens from the Social Science Research Network

SSRNSSRN Top Downloads For Contracts & Commercial Law eJournal
RECENT TOP PAPERS 

RankDownloadsPaper Title
1 203 The Privatization of Compliance 
Scott Killingsworth 
Bryan Cave LLP
2 166 Public-Private Contracting and the Reciprocity Norm 
Wendy Netter Epstein 
DePaul University - College of Law 
3 150 A Psychological Account of Consent to Fine Print 
Tess Wilkinson‐Ryan 
University of Pennsylvania Law School 
4 135 Beauty and Ugliness in Offer and Acceptance 
Kenneth K. Ching 
Regent University - School of Law 
5 120 Personal and Proprietary Remedies for Breach of Confidence: Nearer to Breach of Fiduciary Duty or Breach of Contract? 
Graham Virgo 
University of Cambridge - Faculty of Law 
6 117 A Study of the Risks of Contract Ambiguity 
Preston M. Torbert 
University of Chicago Law School 
7 115 From Status to Contract: The Unhappy Case of Johann Sebastian Bach 
Jonathan Yovel 
Yale Law School; NYU School of Law - Straus Institute for the Advanced Study of Law and Justice; University of Haifa - Faculty of Law
8 114 Bankers and Chancellors 
William W. Bratton and Michael L. Wachter 
Institute for Law and Economics, University of Pennsylvania Law School and University of Pennsylvania Law School - Institute for Law and Economics 
9 106 The Europeanisation of Contract Law and the Proposed Common European Sales Law 
Hector Lewis MacQueen 
University of Edinburgh - School of Law 
10 97 The Smartphone Royalty Stack: Surveying Royalty Demands for the Components Within Modern Smartphones 
Ann K. ArmstrongJoseph J. Mueller and Tim Syrett 
Intel Corporation, WilmerHale (Boston) and WilmerHale (Boston) 

SSRN Top Downloads For LSN: Contracts (Topic)
RECENT TOP PAPERS

RankDownloadsPaper Title
1 166 Public-Private Contracting and the Reciprocity Norm 
Wendy Netter Epstein 
DePaul University - College of Law 
2 150 A Psychological Account of Consent to Fine Print 
Tess Wilkinson‐Ryan 
University of Pennsylvania Law School 
3 134 Beauty and Ugliness in Offer and Acceptance 
Kenneth K. Ching 
Regent University - School of Law 
4 120 Personal and Proprietary Remedies for Breach of Confidence: Nearer to Breach of Fiduciary Duty or Breach of Contract? 
Graham Virgo 
University of Cambridge - Faculty of Law 
5 117 A Study of the Risks of Contract Ambiguity 
Preston M. Torbert 
University of Chicago Law School 
6 115 From Status to Contract: The Unhappy Case of Johann Sebastian Bach 
Jonathan Yovel 
Yale Law School; NYU School of Law - Straus Institute for the Advanced Study of Law and Justice; University of Haifa - Faculty of Law
7 106 The Europeanisation of Contract Law and the Proposed Common European Sales Law 
Hector Lewis MacQueen 
University of Edinburgh - School of Law 
8 63 'Selling Out' and the Impact of Music Piracy on Artist Entry 
Joshua S. Gans 
University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management 
9 59 'Gap Filling' by Arbitrators 
Alan Scott Rau 
University of Texas at Austin School of Law 
10 54 Of Priors and of Disconnects 
Margaret Jane Radin 
University of Michigan Law School 

 

 

July 1, 2014 in Recent Scholarship | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Symposium Issue on Contract Law in 2025

The Duquesne Law Review recently published a symposium issue on "Contract Law in 2025" -- I've pasted links to the contributions below:

 

Back Home

 

Drafting Our Future: Contract Law In 2025

SYMPOSIUM ARTICLES

The Judicial Vision of Contract: The Constructed Circle of Assent and Unconscionability
John E. Murray, Jr.

 

The Future of Fault in Contract Law
Robert A. Hillman

 

Two Alternate Visions of Contract Law in 2025
Nancy S. Kim

 

The Future of Many Contracts
Victor P. Goldberg

 

A Eulogy for the EULA
Miriam A. Cherry

 

The Death of Contracts
Franklin G. Snyder & Ann M. Mirabito

 

July 1, 2014 in Miscellaneous, Recent Scholarship, Web/Tech | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

New in Print

Pile of BooksJason W. Burge & Lara K. Richards, A Compelling Case for Streamlining Venue of Actions to Enjoin Arbitration. 88 Tul. L. Rev. 773(2014)

Elizabeth B. Crawford & Janeen M. Carruthers, Connection and Coherence Between and Among European Instruments in the Private International Law of Obligations, 63 Int'l & Comp. L.Q. 1 (2014)

Richard Holden & Anup Malani, Renegotiation Design by Contract. 81 U. Chi. L. Rev. 151 (2014)

Sandra K. Miller, The Best of Both Worlds: Default Fiduciary Duties and Contractual Freedom in Alternative Business Entities. 39 J. Corp. L. 295 (2014)

Daniel P. O'Gorman, The Restatement (Second) of Contracts' Reasonably Certain Terms Requirement: A Model of Neoclassical Contract Law and a Model of Confusion and Inconsistency, 36 U. Haw. L. Rev. 169 (2014).

June 25, 2014 in Recent Scholarship | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Weekly Top Tens from the Social Science Research Network

SSRN
SSRN Top Downloads For Contracts & Commercial Law eJournal 

RECENT TOP PAPERS 

RankDownloadsPaper Title
1 164 Public-Private Contracting and the Reciprocity Norm 
Wendy Netter Epstein 
DePaul University - College of Law
2 159 The Privatization of Compliance 
Scott Killingsworth 
Bryan Cave LLP
3 141 A Psychological Account of Consent to Fine Print 
Tess Wilkinson‐Ryan 
University of Pennsylvania Law School 
4 125 Beauty and Ugliness in Offer and Acceptance 
Kenneth K. Ching 
Regent University - School of Law
5 114 Personal and Proprietary Remedies for Breach of Confidence: Nearer to Breach of Fiduciary Duty or Breach of Contract? 
Graham Virgo 
University of Cambridge - Faculty of Law 
6 113 From Status to Contract: The Unhappy Case of Johann Sebastian Bach 
Jonathan Yovel 
Yale Law School; NYU School of Law - Straus Institute for the Advanced Study of Law and Justice; University of Haifa - Faculty of Law
7 109 Bankers and Chancellors 
William W. Bratton and Michael L. Wachter 
Institute for Law and Economics, University of Pennsylvania Law School and University of Pennsylvania Law School - Institute for Law and Economics 
8 107 A Study of the Risks of Contract Ambiguity 
Preston M. Torbert 
University of Chicago Law School 
9 100 The Europeanisation of Contract Law and the Proposed Common European Sales Law 
Hector Lewis MacQueen 
University of Edinburgh - School of Law
10 83 The Smartphone Royalty Stack: Surveying Royalty Demands for the Components Within Modern Smartphones 
Ann K. ArmstrongJoseph J. Mueller and Tim Syrett 
Intel Corporation, WilmerHale (Boston) and WilmerHale (Boston) 

SSRN Top Downloads For LSN: Contracts (Topic)
RECENT TOP PAPERS
 

RankDownloadsPaper Title
1 164 Public-Private Contracting and the Reciprocity Norm 
Wendy Netter Epstein 
DePaul University - College of Law 
2 141 A Psychological Account of Consent to Fine Print 
Tess Wilkinson‐Ryan 
University of Pennsylvania Law School 
3 125 Beauty and Ugliness in Offer and Acceptance 
Kenneth K. Ching 
Regent University - School of Law 
4 114 Personal and Proprietary Remedies for Breach of Confidence: Nearer to Breach of Fiduciary Duty or Breach of Contract? 
Graham Virgo 
University of Cambridge - Faculty of Law 
5 113 From Status to Contract: The Unhappy Case of Johann Sebastian Bach 
Jonathan Yovel 
Yale Law School; NYU School of Law - Straus Institute for the Advanced Study of Law and Justice; University of Haifa - Faculty of Law
6 107 A Study of the Risks of Contract Ambiguity 
Preston M. Torbert 
University of Chicago Law School 
7 100 The Europeanisation of Contract Law and the Proposed Common European Sales Law 
Hector Lewis MacQueen 
University of Edinburgh - School of Law
8 62 'Selling Out' and the Impact of Music Piracy on Artist Entry 
Joshua S. Gans 
University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management 
9 53 Of Priors and of Disconnects 
Margaret Jane Radin 
University of Michigan Law School 
10 51 Behavioural Economics and Contract Law 
Ricardo Pazos 
Universidade de Santiago de Compostela

 

June 24, 2014 in Recent Scholarship | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Weekly Top Tens from the Social Science Research Network

SSRN Top Downloads For Contracts & Commercial Law eJournal SSRN
RECENT TOP PAPERS 

RankDownloadsPaper Title
1 791 Aftermarketfailure: Windows XP's End of Support 
Andrew Tutt 
Yale University - Information Society Project 
2 172 The FTC and Privacy and Security Duties for the Cloud 
Daniel J. Solove and Woodrow Hartzog 
George Washington University Law School and Samford University - Cumberland School of Law 
3 139 Public-Private Contracting and the Reciprocity Norm 
Wendy Netter Epstein 
DePaul University - College of Law 
4 115 The Privatization of Compliance 
Scott Killingsworth 
Bryan Cave LLP 
5 111 Personal and Proprietary Remedies for Breach of Confidence: Nearer to Breach of Fiduciary Duty or Breach of Contract? 
Graham Virgo 
University of Cambridge - Faculty of Law 
6 108 From Status to Contract: The Unhappy Case of Johann Sebastian Bach 
Jonathan Yovel 
Yale Law School; NYU School of Law - Straus Institute for the Advanced Study of Law and Justice; University of Haifa - Faculty of Law
7 99 Beauty and Ugliness in Offer and Acceptance 
Kenneth K. Ching 
Regent University - School of Law 
8 97 The Europeanisation of Contract Law and the Proposed Common European Sales Law 
Hector Lewis MacQueen 
University of Edinburgh - School of Law 
9 91 Good Faith in Contract: Why Australian Law is Incoherent 
John Carter 
University of Sydney - Faculty of Law 
10 74 A Psychological Account of Consent to Fine Print 
Tess Wilkinson‐Ryan 
University of Pennsylvania Law School 

SSRN Top Downloads For LSN: Contracts (Topic)
RECENT TOP PAPERS 

RankDownloadsPaper Title
1 145 Public Lands and the Federal Government's Compact-Based 'Duty to Dispose': A Case Study of Utah's H.B. 148 — The Transfer of Public Lands Act 
Donald J. Kochan 
Chapman University, The Dale E. Fowler School of Law 
2 139 Public-Private Contracting and the Reciprocity Norm 
Wendy Netter Epstein 
DePaul University - College of Law 
3 111 Personal and Proprietary Remedies for Breach of Confidence: Nearer to Breach of Fiduciary Duty or Breach of Contract? 
Graham Virgo 
University of Cambridge - Faculty of Law 
4 108 From Status to Contract: The Unhappy Case of Johann Sebastian Bach 
Jonathan Yovel 
Yale Law School; NYU School of Law - Straus Institute for the Advanced Study of Law and Justice; University of Haifa - Faculty of Law
5 99 Beauty and Ugliness in Offer and Acceptance 
Kenneth K. Ching 
Regent University - School of Law 
6 97 The Europeanisation of Contract Law and the Proposed Common European Sales Law 
Hector Lewis MacQueen 
University of Edinburgh - School of Law 
7 91 Good Faith in Contract: Why Australian Law is Incoherent 
John Carter 
University of Sydney - Faculty of Law 
8 74 A Psychological Account of Consent to Fine Print 
Tess Wilkinson‐Ryan 
University of Pennsylvania Law School 
9 64 A Study of the Risks of Contract Ambiguity 
Preston M. Torbert 
University of Chicago Law School 
10 56 'Selling Out' and the Impact of Music Piracy on Artist Entry 
Joshua S. Gans 
University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management 

 

June 17, 2014 in Recent Scholarship | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Terms of Use as Entertainment

Miriam A. Cherry

(The next John Grisham?)

We here at the contracts prof blog are frequently in a lather over adhesive contracts.  Terms of use run amok, arbitration clauses are routinely enforced, and non-compete clauses prevent teenagers from seeking gainful employment.  Yet, where's the outrage from other quarters?  One problem, as John Oliver notes in this hilarious (and effective) bit on net neutrality, is that some things are just too BORING to grab consumers' attention.  Towards the end of the clip (about 10:10), he states this truth:  "If you want to do something evil, put it inside something boring."  He speculates that Apple could put the entire text of Mein Kampf inside its user agreement and we would just hit "Agree." 

That's really the problem with Terms of Use - they are just too boring that except for a few contracts profs, most people don't want to think about them.  They just want them to go away.  One solution is to make them more interesting.  John Oliver's approach to net neutrality - to make it ridiculously funny yet informative - is one way to awaken the sleeping consumer into righteous outrage.  Apparently the FCC's comment site temporarily shut down after he encouraged viewers to voice their displeasure.  Of course, South Park has already poked fun at the iTunes agreeement.  That didn't result in a boycott of Apple's products because there was no "call for action."  It did, however, raise the issue for many and has become a useful cultural reference point on the state of consumer helplessness in the face of TOS.

Another way to provoke interest in the subject might be to write an imaginative futuristic tale of a world controlled by EULAs, like Miriam Cherry has done here.  Her fast-paced story is a mashup of Girl with a Dragon Tattoo, Boilerplate and Ender's Game - beach reading for contracts profs!

June 12, 2014 in Miscellaneous, Recent Scholarship, True Contracts | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

New in Print

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Weekly Top Tens from the Social Science Research Network

SSRNSSRN Top Downloads For Contracts & Commercial Law eJournal
RECENT TOP PAPERS

RankDownloadsPaper Title
1 788 Aftermarketfailure: Windows XP's End of Support 
Andrew Tutt 
Yale University - Information Society Project 
2 166 The FTC and Privacy and Security Duties for the Cloud 
Daniel J. Solove and Woodrow Hartzog 
George Washington University Law School and Samford University - Cumberland School of Law 
3 139 Public-Private Contracting and the Reciprocity Norm 
Wendy Netter Epstein 
DePaul University - College of Law 
4 126 Payment after Actavis 
Michael A. Carrier 
Rutgers University School of Law - Camden 
5 105 From Status to Contract: The Unhappy Case of Johann Sebastian Bach 
Jonathan Yovel 
Yale Law School; NYU School of Law - Straus Institute for the Advanced Study of Law and Justice; University of Haifa - Faculty of Law
6 103 Personal and Proprietary Remedies for Breach of Confidence: Nearer to Breach of Fiduciary Duty or Breach of Contract? 
Graham Virgo 
University of Cambridge - Faculty of Law 
7 102 The Incoherent Role of Bargaining Power in Contract Law 
Max N. Helveston and Michael S. Jacobs 
DePaul University - College of Law and DePaul University - College of Law 
8 93 The Europeanisation of Contract Law and the Proposed Common European Sales Law 
Hector Lewis MacQueen 
University of Edinburgh - School of Law 
9 88 Good Faith in Contract: Why Australian Law is Incoherent 
John Carter 
University of Sydney - Faculty of Law 
10 79 Refining Rectification 
David McLauchlan 
Victoria University of Wellington - Faculty of Law 

SSRN Top Downloads For LSN: Contracts (Topic)
RECENT TOP PAPERS

RankDownloadsPaper Title
1 176 The Evolving Private International Law/Substantive Law Overlap in the European Union 
Ronald A. Brand 
University of Pittsburgh - School of Law
2 145 Public Lands and the Federal Government's Compact-Based 'Duty to Dispose': A Case Study of Utah's H.B. 148 — The Transfer of Public Lands Act 
Donald J. Kochan 
Chapman University, The Dale E. Fowler School of Law 
3 139 Public-Private Contracting and the Reciprocity Norm 
Wendy Netter Epstein 
DePaul University - College of Law 
4 105 From Status to Contract: The Unhappy Case of Johann Sebastian Bach 
Jonathan Yovel 
Yale Law School; NYU School of Law - Straus Institute for the Advanced Study of Law and Justice; University of Haifa - Faculty of Law
5 102 The Incoherent Role of Bargaining Power in Contract Law 
Max N. Helveston and Michael S. Jacobs 
DePaul University - College of Law and DePaul University - College of Law 
6 102 Personal and Proprietary Remedies for Breach of Confidence: Nearer to Breach of Fiduciary Duty or Breach of Contract? 
Graham Virgo 
University of Cambridge - Faculty of Law 
7 93 The Europeanisation of Contract Law and the Proposed Common European Sales Law 
Hector Lewis MacQueen 
University of Edinburgh - School of Law 
8 88 Good Faith in Contract: Why Australian Law is Incoherent 
John Carter 
University of Sydney - Faculty of Law 
9 79 Refining Rectification 
David McLauchlan 
Victoria University of Wellington - Faculty of Law 
10 76 Beauty and Ugliness in Offer and Acceptance 
Kenneth K. Ching 
Regent University - School of Law 

 

June 10, 2014 in Recent Scholarship | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

The (Im)morality of Disclosure and Contract Design

I've been thinking a lot about contract design, disclosure and consent recently, and had a chance to read Tess Wilkinson-Ryan, A Psychological Account of Consent to Fine Print, 99 IOWA L. REV. 1745 (2014) which (from the abstract):

 "aims to unpack the beliefs, preferences, assumptions and biases that constitute our assessments of assent to boilerplate.  Research suggests that misgivings about procedural defects in consumer contracting weigh heavily on judgments of contract formation, but play almost no role in judgments of blame for transactional harms.  Using experimental methods from the psychology of judgment and decision-making, I test the psychological explanations for this disjunction, including motivated reasoning and reliance on availability heuristics." 

Wilkinson-Ryan concludes that, while disclosures may not have noticeable effects on the assent process (i.e. whether consumers read or understand terms), they have "enormous effects on how we understand transactional harms."  In other words, we are more likely to understand that the consumer has consented and that the consumer is to blame for having consented if the particular disputed issue has been disclosed. 

Wilkinson-Ryan covers the same territory that Eric Zacks covered in a couple of earlier articles having to do with contracting behavior by firms and the effect of contract design on how consumers perceive their moral obligations.  In the first article, Contracting Blame, 15 Univ. of Penn. J. of Bus. L. 169 (2012) Zacks (I’m quoting from the abstract again):

 “explores the impact of the cognitive biases of judges and juries in the context of contract preparation and execution....This Article makes a novel link between behavioral literature and contract preparation and suggests that contract preparers may be able to manipulate adjudicators’ cognitive biases systematically. Exclusive of the economic bargain, contract provisions can provide attributional 'clues' about the contracting context that inform and reassure judicial interpreters that a particular contracting party is more blameworthy than another....In light of the significant implications of the existence and prospective use of such attributional clues for contract law theory and judgment, this Article proposes a broader contextual and adjudicative focus when contemplating contract law reforms.”

In the second, Shame, Regret and Contract Design, 97 Marquette L. Rev. (forthcoming), Zacks argues (again from the abstract):

“(c)ontracts can encourage individuals to feel shame, to blame themselves, to believe that contracts are sacred promises that should be specifically performed, to utilize faulty judgment heuristics when determining contract costs, and to rely on misperceived social norms with respect to challenging or breaching contracts. This may influence them not to breach or challenge an otherwise uneconomical, unconscionable, or illegal contract.” 

 
The takeaway from these three articles?  Firms are manipulating consumers through disclosure and contract design into performing contracts without real consent.  The question then is what to do about it.

Wilkinson-Ryan’s article raises interesting questions about whether disclosure requirements have unintended consequences.  I think her article provides additional support for Omri Ben Shahar and Carl Schneider's book, More Than You Wanted to Know:  The Failure of Mandated Disclosure (Princeton, 2014).*  But rather than concluding that disclosure is a lousy way to address the problem of consent (which it often is), I came to a slightly different conclusion based upon one of her studies. That study found that "making the firm's behavior more salient changed how subjects ranked the blameworthiness of the parties." Wilkinson-Ryan notes that, "(u)nless participants are prompted to think about the firm's drafting process as a set of choices, the drafter's role is not a salient factor in judgments of blame." In my book, Wrap Contracts, and elsewhere, I argue that courts should stop focusing on consumer's "duty to read" and focus instead on the company's "duty to draft reasonably."  In other words, courts should consider whether the drafting firm could have presented and drafted the contract terms in a better, more understandable fashion rather than on whether the adherent "should" have noticed the terms. This shifts the burden of form contracting - and Wilkinson-Ryan's studies suggest, the moral blame -- from the non-reading consumer to the bad-drafting, morally culpable, company.   Of course, requiring companies to draft reasonably (as distinguished from providing “reasonable notice”) doesn’t get us all the way there – but it may help shift the focus away from blaming the adherent-victim  to thinking about the immorality of the drafting firm.


*This blog plans to host a symposium on their book sometime in the fall so stay tuned.

**Boycott Amazon and buy this book from the publisher's website. 

June 10, 2014 in Commentary, Miscellaneous, Recent Scholarship | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

New in Print