'You Don't Have to Be Ludwig Wittgenstein': How Llewellyn's Concept of Agreement Should Change the Law of Open-Quanity Contracts

60 Pages Posted: 23 Oct 2010  

H. Allen Blair

Hamline University - School of Law

Date Written: October 20, 2006

Abstract

In this article, Professor Allen Blair examines the preeminent role of exclusivity in open-quantity contracts under the Uniform Commercial Code (“UCC”). Although the text of the UCC does not mandate that open-quantity contracts be exclusive, the vast majority of courts considering the issue have held that exclusivity is necessary to prevent such contracts from failing for lack of mutuality of obligation. The Article traces the historic development of open-quantity agreements, focusing on pre-Code cases recognizing the commercial utility of such agreements but struggling with how to accommodate them under a classical model of contract formation. It was in this historic context that courts forged the requirement of exclusivity. Despite the fact that the UCC was intended to supplant rigid notions of contract formation, thus expanding the range of legally enforceable commercial agreements, post-Code courts have remained con- strained by classic contract law and still require exclusivity. This Article argues that by demanding exclusivity in open-quantity agreements, the majority of courts have relied on an outmoded conception of contract formation, which unduly restricts commercial deal-making and ignores the relational benefits at the heart of the UCC and Karl Llewellyn’s concept of agreement.

Keywords: Contracts, Contract, UCC, Uniform Commercial Code, Open-quantity contracts, Commercial Law, Gap-filling

Suggested Citation

Blair, H. Allen, 'You Don't Have to Be Ludwig Wittgenstein': How Llewellyn's Concept of Agreement Should Change the Law of Open-Quanity Contracts (October 20, 2006). Seton Hall Law Review, Vol. 27, No. 1, 2006. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1695662

Henry Allen Blair (Contact Author)

Hamline University - School of Law ( email )

1536 Hewitt Avenue
Saint Paul, MN 55104-1237
United States
651-523-2794 (Phone)

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