Overrated: Litigators As a Source of Contract-Drafting Advice

Last week I tweeted this, or something close to it: “When I want authoritative contract-drafting advice, I look to litigators.” I was aware that it was unclear whether I was being sincere or snarky. After a few hours, I decided that being gratuitously confusing was unhelpful, so I deleted the tweet. But the replies to my tweet remain. Some endorse … Read More

Hey, Another Fight Over “And”: Spanski Enterprises, Inc. v. Telewizja Polska S.A.

What I call “ambiguity of the part versus the whole”—ambiguity involving whether it’s a single member of a group of two or more that’s being referred to, or the entire group—is annoyingly complicated. Whenever I talk about it, I have to remind myself, and those I’m addressing, that we have no choice but to wrestle with this complexity because people … Read More

More “Endeavours” Twaddle

Regular readers of this blog will be familiar with Glenn West. When it comes to analysis of contract boilerplate with big-deal implications, no one comes close to Glenn. But Glenn has a mischievous side. He’ll sporadically send me stuff that he must know will irritate me; I imagine him hitting “Send” with a bit of a cackle. In the past … Read More

What (If Anything) Does It Mean to Have a Court Cite My Work?

An anonymous informant—oh what the heck, it was Glenn West—told me that in Channel MedSystems, Inc. v. Boston Scientific Corporation (here), an opinion issued just yesterday by the Delaware Court of Chancery, Chancellor Bouchard cites A Manual of Style for Contract Drafting. More specifically, here’s footnote 236: The parties frame their arguments in terms of “breaches” of representations. The court … Read More

Having Nonparties Release Stuff

I’m doing what I can to advance the cause, but we’re all fortunate to have Glenn West plugging away, posting his analyses at such a rate that I have a hard time keeping up. For his collected oeuvre, go here. Today’s post is inspired by something from his archives, this 2016 post about whether a provision in which nonparties are … Read More

The Texas Supreme Court Doesn’t Like Cryptic Contracts

Thanks to Glenn West, I learned about the recent opinion of the Texas Supreme Court in Burlington Resources Oil & Gas Co. LP v. Texas Crude Energy, LLC (PDF here). The fight was over a technical oil-and-gas issue that’s way above my pay grade. Both parties claimed the language was unambiguous and each offered a vastly different interpretation. The court … Read More

Optimal Contract Language Requires More Than Enthusiasm: My Critique of Shawn Burton’s Article in the Harvard Business Review

Just in time for Christmas, the January–February 2018 issue of the Harvard Business Review offers us a lump of coal in the form of an article entitled The Case for Plain-Language Contracts (here). It’s by Shawn Burton, general counsel of GE Aviation’s Business & General Aviation and Integrated Systems businesses. It describes “a three-plus-year effort to promote plain-language contracts at GE … Read More

The G-Word

In my post on no-reliance language (here), I link to this blog post by Glenn West. In it, Glenn doesn’t mess about. He mentions me right off the bat. And he drops the G-bomb. That’s right—guru. It’s a label that has stuck with me, probably thanks to this 2007 article in the Canadian periodical The Lawyers Weekly. I’m OK with … Read More

“Representations,” “Warranties,” and the Delaware Superior Court

Last week Glenn West—this Glenn West—told me about Pivotal Payments Direct Corp. v. Planet Payment, Inc., No. CVN15C02059 EMD CCLD, 2015 WL 9595285 (Del. Super. Dec. 29, 2015) (PDF here). It involves representations. And warranties. He expected that I would freak. I can see him cackling and rubbing his hands together. Anyone who has read this blog for a while knows that those terms can get … Read More