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Insincere Promises - Ayres, Ian; Klass, Gregory - Yale University Press

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Insincere Promises

The Law of Misrepresented Intent

  • Ian Ayres and Gregory Klass
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Winner of the 2006 Scribes Book Award sponsored by The American Society of Legal Writers

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.

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