The common law of contract is an intellectual and political triumph. In its mature form, it enables judges whose ideological goals may differ to apply doctrines that provide the right to make enforceable promises; with legislation, the common law also provides proper limits on that right. Lately, scholars have produced a flood of contract law theory that enriches our thinking about and grounding for contract law norms. But the real work of common law development has always occurred in the trenches – in judicial decisions. In those trenches and on the framework built there, some decisions matter far more than others, and jurists, scholars, and teachers draw on these key decisions to do their work.
In the following collection of essays, scholars deeply familiar with judicial opinion in the common law of contract – twenty authors who have a collective 497 years writing, teaching, and thinking about contract law – identify the best and worst of contracts cases. Many of the cases are staple examples for practical and theoretical contracts scholarship. Many are taught to thousands of students each year. Many are routinely cited by courts. The essays explain, rebuke, extol, entertain, and inspire. They are brief but substantive. They set a basis for future commentary and establish a collective standard against which contracts decisions may be judged. They are vital study for contract law adjudication, scholarship, and teaching.
Barnhizer, Daniel D and Burnham, Scott J and Calleros, Charles R and Garvin, Larry T and Grossman, Nadelle and Guerra-Pujol, FE. and Harrison, Jeffrey Lynch and Keren, Hila and Malloy, Michael P and O’Gorman, Daniel and Waire Post, Deborah and Ricks, Val D and Arnow-Richman, Rachel S and Carlson, Richard R and Gergen, Mark P and Hegland, Kenney F and Kim, Nancy S and Oman, Nathan B and Powers, Jean and Preston, Cheryl B, The Best and Worst of Contracts Decisions: An Anthology (2018) 45 Florida State University Law Review 889-1022 (2018).