The central theme of this book is that an economic framework--incorporating such concepts as information asymmetry, moral hazard, and adaptation to changed circumstances--is appropriate for contract interpretation, analyzing contract disputes, and developing contract doctrine. The value of the approach is demonstrated through the close analysis of major contract cases. In many of the cases, had the court (and the litigators) understood the economic context, the analysis and results would have been very different. Topics and some representative cases include consideration (Wood v. Lucy, Lady Duff Gordon), interpretation (Bloor v. Falstaff and Columbia Nitrogen v. Royster), remedies (Campbell v. Wentz, Tongish v. Thomas, and Parker v. Twentieth Century Fox), and excuse (Alcoa v. Essex).
Anyone remotely sympathetic to law and economics who teaches contracts will want to see if Goldberg has something to say about a particular case before teaching it. Those who write in this field will want to have this book close at hand. In short, this is an important work that will change the way people think about contract law.
This book ought to be read by everyone who teaches contract law in an American law school. Even more important, it ought to be read by every lawyer who writes or negotiates contracts.
Goldberg's style is clear and entertaining. One of the best things about the book is that he completely avoids the kind of economic jargon that drives away readers who are unfamiliar with economic language. His explanations are clear and cogent, and are written at a level that law students and intelligent lay people can understand without difficulty. This is no small accomplishment.
[Goldberg's] prose is clear, and despite his lack of a law degree, he has a good handle on contract law. While most economic analyses of contract law tend to agree that from an economic perspective the legal system has got contract law basically right, this book analyzes a number of contract cases and finds them either wrong or, if right, wrongly reasoned. The skewering of some of these cases is, in his opinion, like shooting fish in a barrel...This is the most stimulating and interesting book on contract law that I have come across in many years. It is full of surprises. Everyone who works with contracts and every law professor who teaches contracts should take a look at it.
This stimulating book should be placed on the top of the reading stack for everyone who studies contract law--along with those who structure or litigate deals for a living. Goldberg is an adept legal archeologist who has done a wonderful job of unearthing old court documents, obscure business relationships, and forgotten family histories. He is a master storyteller--many of the chapters flow more like a Booker Prize novel than dry legal commentary.
Victor Goldberg's Framing Contract Law is one of the most intellectually challenging books I have ever read. Reading the book would benefit law school professors who teach contract law or Article 2 of the Uniform Commercial Code, litigators who deal with contract issues arising under Article 2, and acquisition professionals working in the private sector...An intricate book to read and digest but one that is well worth the effort.
- 424 pages
- 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
- Harvard University Press
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