Tribute to Andy Spanogle, 1934-2020.
By Dee Pridgen, Professor Emeritus, University of Wyoming College of Law
I was very saddened to learn the news that my dear friend, and coauthor, Andy (John A.) Spanogle, had passed away in December of last year. He was a towering figure in the law, especially in the fields of consumer law and international business transactions.
Our paths first crossed in the late 1980’s, when Andy and his coauthor Ralph Rohner (who just left us last summer) asked me to join them on the second edition of their pioneering casebook, Consumer Law: Cases and Materials. The casebook was the first of its kind in a then nascent field. In the preface to that first edition in 1979, Andy and Ralph relayed their rather apt and prophetic assumptions behind the text:
- Consumer protection statutes and caselaw doctrines are pervasive within the legal structure.
- They are growing.
- They are not likely to disappear, but are more likely to increase.
- Even though they concern widely disparate subject-matter, there are likely to be common doctrinal and practical threads running through them, and it is our job to try to discover those threads.
Consumer law was a thread that ran through Andy’s own professional life. He was an advocate for the core federal consumer credit laws passed by Congress in the 1970’s, including the $50 limit on consumer liability for unauthorized use of credit cards which we still benefit from today. He remained involved in and was a valued contributor to the 2nd, 3rd and 4th editions of the Consumer Law casebook. He also generously supported the National Consumer Law Center, especially in the founding of the Spanogle Institute for Consumer Advocacy, which opened in Washington, D.C. in 2017.
In addition to his influential work in the field of consumer law, Andy coauthored groundbreaking casebooks, treatises and articles in International Business Transactions and International Sales Law. While teaching law at several different law schools, most recently at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., he also traveled the world as a consultant and teacher. I know he loved teaching because he continued to serve in the law school classroom as a part-time faculty member for years after he “retired.” His many students appreciated him very much.
Andy was sharp, witty and had an unforgettable deep-voiced laugh which he employed to good effect on many occasions. He also sang at his church and in community groups, a talent that I wish I had been able to witness myself.
Although separated by our geographic locations, Andy remained a good mentor, colleague, and friend to me over the years. He will not be forgotten.