The Best (Modern) Contracts Cases

Today I received an interesting note from Caprice Roberts (Savannah), who is re-designing and updating her contracts syllabus.  She uses a fairly traditional textbook that contains many of the old common law chestnuts (See e.g. Peerless).   Caprice would like to know what are the best cases that she’s not teaching?  In other words, what are your top five favorite (modern) contracts cases to teach?   For these purposes, “cases” could include something ripped from a recent case or a newsworthy sports or entertainment contract dispute.  I am sure that one of the suggestions will be Leonard v. Pepsico, and Prof. Lawrence Cunningham’s Contracts in the Real World Stories of Popular Contracts and Why They Matter is chock full of them.  Readers?

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4 Responses

  1. David R. Maass says:

    I’m only a student, but when I was taking contracts I came across this news story and I had to send it to my professor. It raises issues about offers and unilateral contracts.

  2. Dave Hoffman says:

    tongish v. thomas

  3. Joe Shenkman says:

    I’d recommend also looking beyond the US. English, Australian, Canadian, Singaporean, and New Zealand courts have had excellent contracts jurists in recent years, and consequently the opinions tend to be very high-quality.

    I’d particularly recommend:

    – Gay v Loh (Consideration – Singapore, Phang JA)
    – Great Peace v Tsavliris (Mistake – England)
    – Hudson v Shogun Finance (Mistake – England)
    – Supershield v Siemens (Damages – England)
    – The Heron II (Damages – England)
    – Investors’ Compensation Scheme v West Bromwich Building Society (Construction of terms – England) and Chartbrook v Persimmon (same)
    – Attorney-General of Belize v Belize Telecom (Implied terms – England or Privy Council [can’t remember which])
    – RTS v Muller (Intention to create legal relations/’subject to contract’ – England)
    – Asia Pacific Breweries v SEB (Agency – Singapore) (best read along with The Ocean Frost [Agency – England] and First Energy v Hungarian International Bank [Agency – England)

    I’d also recommend that Trusts and Remedies profs consider using English and Australian cases, particularly on Tracing and Restitution. Some interesting ones include:
    – Foskett v McKeown (Tracing – England)
    – Westdeutsche Landesbank Girozentrale v Islington LBC (Constructive Trusts & Unjust Enrichment – England)
    – Pitt v Holt (Mistake – England)
    – Bristol & West Building Society v Motthew (Fiduciary duties – England)
    – Attorney-General v Blake (Restitutionary damages – England)
    – Royal Brunei Airways v Tan (Accessory liability – Privy Council)
    – Twinsectra v Yardley (‘Quistclose’ trusts, accessory liability – England)
    – Barlow Clowes v Eurotrust (Accessory liability – Privy Council)
    – BCCI v Akindele (Accessory liability – England)

    There is also a wealth of English & Commonwealth commentary on private law subjects that is well worth reading for US lawprofs, since they often deal with similar issues. Checking the Law Quarterly Review, Modern Law Review, Legal Studies, Cambridge Law Journal and Oxford Journal of Legal Studies can often help US law research.

    It is too rare nowadays for common law countries to look at each other’s law. I think it would really help students critically analyze issues in the law if they were instructed to look more often at other common law solutions to similar problems.

  4. Miriam A. Cherry says:

    @David: I had seen the tattoo on the forehead guy before. Interesting…
    @Dave: Yes, that case is in the Barnett book, no?
    @Joe: Thanks for the international perspective. I’ll have to check these out!