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St. Johns University School of Law
Kniffen, Margaret N.

Contracts – class notes

-read ahead five cases after each class – we do about 3 or 4 cases every class (no more than 5 discussed in class)
-last class of semester – go over last year’s exam
[lawyers hold society together-enforce laws, honorable profession] -re-read notes after class and see if there is anything unclear
-good, detailed notes are important in this class
-only responsible for what we cover in class (but responsible for everything covered)
-don’t have to read outside of the casebook or supp.

For this course:
-you can use reference books called hornbooks (treatises) for clarity
-will be on reserve in the library
1.       Contracts (E. Allen Farnsworth) – covers a lot of cases in book
2.       Contracts (Calamari & Perillo) – not as many cases as first
3.       Contracts (Simpson) – few cases, but very clear and succinct

-contracts law doesn’t change much
-not required to brief cases – Kniffin will suggest method
-leave space before facts section (to isolate significant facts) then write issue, decision and reasoning and go back to fill in facts that generated the issue and the reasoning
-or include other facts that should have changed the decision if you disagree

throughout the course:
-requirements of valid contract
-which types of contracts have to be in writing
-end of semester through pg. 450 – illegal contracts

cold bench – judge does not read brief prior to start of case
hot bench – judge reads all papers before trial

[for each case in this class: state who the P is and who the D is and what role they play, i.e. Laredo Hides is the P and the buyer of the cow hides]
Note that bracketed items in the cases are summaries written by the editors

Laredo Hides case: (p.476) (buyer of hides covers when seller breaches)
-illustrates basic concepts and is a good starting point
-case is about a particular way of calculating damages
-determine if contract is valid, what contract terms determine, what damages
should be given
-P first asked for specific performance from D – ordering seller to deliver the cow hides
-in our country it has been found that it works better to give money damages
-if not, seller may deliver sub-standard goods and buyer will have to go back to court–not efficient use of judicial system
-specific performance can be given if article is unique (ex. Rembrandt painting)

-broadest issue of the case is how should we calculate money damages?
-buyer did not receive goods and made substitute purchase (cover – applies to sale of goods only)

restitution=restoring what was already paid (benefit conferred upon the D)


a that buyer gets difference between contract price and cover price + incidental and consequential damages)

for next class – read statutes 2-711, 2-712 and 2-713 (Article 2 deals with sale of goods)
-note it says original—it could also say current
-there have been revisions to article 2, but none of the state legislatures have adopted them
-be sure to look at ORIGINAL not revised code for appropriate statutes

Kniffin’s Q for next class: the buyer that covered did not have any legal obligation to cover, but buyer is still entitled to damages, b/c you went through trouble of bargaining for contract
–what does this court (Laredo Hides) say should happen to a person that does not cover? And what section of the Code tells us the answer? How do we calculate the damages in this case?

A à (p. 477, 2nd paragraph) Under §2.713 buyer may have damages measured by the “difference between the market price at the time when the buyer learned of the breach and the contract price together with any incidental or consequential damages.”