Rethinking Contract Law and Contract Design

Rethinking Contract Law and Contract Design

Rethinking Law series

Victor P. Goldberg

Rethinking Contract Law and Contract Design presents a rich array of ideas that reassess the law and economics of contractual relations. Victor P. Goldberg uses a transactional framework to critically analyse and re-evaluate contract doctrine and specific legal cases. This important work examines particular contractual precepts whilst conducting a detailed exercise in legal archaeology, challenging readers to reconsider significant legal decisions by forensic exploration of records, briefs, and other materials, including the staple cases of textbooks and casebooks.

Chapter 6: Freund through the looking glass: Chodos v. West Publishing Co.

Victor P. Goldberg

Subjects: economics and finance, law and economics, law - academic, commercial law, law and economics, law of obligations


After the publisher reneged on a promise to publish, the author sued and won. The court held that damages were too speculative and instead allowed the author to recover his reliance damages. He claimed that he should be compensated for the time he spent on the manuscript multiplied by his hourly rate as a lawyer. The jury rendered a compromise verdict which accepted the reliance theory and the court approved. Since the author did have the right to publish elsewhere and, in fact, did so, the damages should have been the costs of delayed publication. Had the contract made explicit that the publisher maintained an option to publish, there would have been no breach. Since the contract was on the publisher’s form, it should have been able to eliminate any ambiguity.

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