Insincere Promises


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The Law of Misrepresented Intent

Ian Ayres and Gregory Klass

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How can a promise be a lie? Answer: when the promisor never intended to perform the promise. Such incidences of promissory fraud are frequently litigated because they can result in punitive damages awards. And an insincere promisor can even be held criminally liable. Yet courts have provided little guidance about what the scope of liability should be or what proof should be required. This book—the first ever devoted to the analysis of promissory fraud—answers these questions. Filled with examples of insincere promising from the case law as well as from literature and popular culture, the book is an indispensable guide for those who practice or teach contract law.

The authors explore what promises say from the perspectives of philosophy, economics, and the law. They identify four chief mistakes that courts make in promissory fraud cases. And they offer a theory for how courts and practitioners should handle promissory fraud cases.

Ian Ayres is William K. Townsend Professor of Law, Yale University Law School; coauthor of the Why Not? column in Forbes magazine; and a frequent commentator on National Public Radio’s Marketplace. Gregory Klass is an associate professor at Georgetown Law.

Insincere Promises advances an important and convincing theory of promissory fraud; it also rewards readers with an illuminating overview of contract law and theory. Written with precision, sophistication, and humor, the volume will appeal to experts and students alike.”—Eric Posner, University of Chicago Law School 

Insincere Promises is a must-read for law teachers, law students, and anyone else interested in the law of contracts or torts. The authors traverse the forbidding and tangled landscape of the law of deceit, manipulation, mistake, and accident.”—Katherine Stone, UCLA

"Fraud and misrepresentation have always been neglected by scholars. This book puts them back on center stage where they belong."—Richard Craswell, Stanford University 

Winner of the 2006 Scribes Book Award sponsored by The American Society of Legal Writers

ISBN: 9780300106756
Publication Date: June 11, 2005
316 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
5 tables
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