Download this Paper Open PDF in Browser

Traynor (Drennan) v. Hand (Baird): Much Ado About (Almost) Nothing

41 Pages Posted: 28 Mar 2011  

Victor P. Goldberg

Columbia Law School

Date Written: March 25, 2011


Most Contracts casebooks feature either Baird v. Gimbel or (Drennan v. Star Paving to illustrate the limits on revocability of an offer. In this paper an analysis of the case law yields three major conclusions. First, as is generally known, in the contractor-subcontractor cases Drennan has prevailed. However, both it and its spawn, Restatement 2d 87(2), have had almost no impact outside that narrow area. Moreover, almost all the cases involve public construction projects - private projects account for only about ten percent of the cases. This suggests that private parties have managed to resolve the problem contractually. Public contract law is encrusted with regulations, which courts and contracts scholars have ignored. The result is a peculiar phenomenon - a supposedly general contract doctrine that applies only in a specific context, but which ignores the features of that context.

Suggested Citation

Goldberg, Victor P., Traynor (Drennan) v. Hand (Baird): Much Ado About (Almost) Nothing (March 25, 2011). Columbia Law and Economics Working Paper No. 397. Available at SSRN: or

Victor Paul Goldberg (Contact Author)

Columbia Law School ( email )

435 West 116th Street
New York, NY 10025
United States
212-854-8380 (Phone)
212-854-0221 (Fax)

Paper statistics

Abstract Views