Contract Interpretation

News & Analysis as of

NY High Court’s ‘All Sums’ Allocation Ruling in Viking Pump is a Game Changer

On May 3, 2016, New York’s high court took a giant step forward in protecting policyholders facing latent injury claims, allowing them to avoid multiple deductibles, retentions and insolvent coverage. In the Matter of Viking...more

New York’s Highest Court Rules in Favor of “All Sums” and Vertical Attachment in Certified Question from Delaware Supreme Court

In the recent decision of Viking Pump, Inc., et al. v. TIG Insurance Co., et al., 2016 N.Y. LEXIS 1018 (N.Y. May 3, 2016), the New York Court of Appeals (New York’s highest court), on questions certified by the Delaware...more

Fourth Circuit Court Of Appeals Decides Issue Of Class Arbitrability Is A Question For The Court, Not Arbitrator

A South Carolina federal court dismissed a petition to compel class arbitration, reasoning “that whether the arbitration clause permits class arbitration is a simple contractual interpretation issue, and because the question...more

District Court Rules Johnson Controls Retirees Not Entitled to Lifetime Health Benefits

A district court in the Middle District of Pennsylvania held that, notwithstanding the Supreme Court’s decision in M & G Polymers USA, LLC v. Tackett, 135 S. Ct. 926 (2015), the Third Circuit’s rule that clear and express...more

Give your dough to the baker even if he will eat half of your bread!

As dispute lawyers we often deal with contracts that result in unintended consequences because they have not been drafted by lawyers expert in the chosen governing law of the contract. While many legal systems share...more

Don’t trip up – a warning for owners

The recently decided case of SBT STAR BULK & TANKERS (GERMANY) GMBH & CO KG V COSMOTRADE SA (THE “WEHR TRAVE”) [2016] EWHC 583 (Comm) in the Queen’s Bench Division of the Commercial Court and before The Hon Sir Bernard Eder...more

Three Point Shot - March 2016

California Court to PGA Tour Caddies: You'll Get Nothing and Like It! As the full swing of the PGA season rounds the corner, and with the azaleas blooming at Augusta, the trusted confidants of golf's premier players...more

A Troubling Decision for Employment Arbitration Agreements with Potentially Ambiguous Language and What it Means for Employers...

On April 5, 2016, in a rare rebuke of an employment arbitration agreement by a federal court, the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey (Hon. Madeline Cox Arleo, U.S.D.J.) held that it would not compel...more

Corporate Trustees: how gross must negligence be?

Surprisingly, the distinction between negligence and gross negligence in English contract and trust law is unclear. On one view, reflected in the older cases, there is little or no difference at all....more

Considerations For Manufacturers/Distributors Who Are Negotiating Contracts Without Any Leverage

Negotiating contracts in the supply chain are certainly challenging. As a lawyer, there is a temptation to want to change every term that is not to your liking. And, for that reason, a lot of lawyers will receive a contract...more

Draft Agreements with Contract Construction Principles in Mind

Generally it’s the parties’ mutual intent that controls a contract’s interpretation. But that intent isn’t always easy to figure out. When the parties dispute a contract’s interpretation and it goes to court, the court...more

Canary Wharf v Deutsche Trustee Company Limited: Contractual interpretation now settled and straightforward, correct?

The English High Court has once again had to visit the principles for interpretation of contracts under English law, in Canary Wharf v Deutsche Trustee Company Limited and others. The particular issue in dispute concerned...more

Congenbill ‘Paramount Clause’ – Hague or Hague / Visby Rules?

In Yemgas FZCO & Ors v Superior Pescadores SA [2016] EWCA Civ 101, the Court of Appeal considered whether the standard ‘Paramount Clause’ wording in the Congenbill incorporates the Hague Rules 1924 (the “HR”) or the...more

Supreme Court Clarifies Test for Implied Terms

The Supreme Court has clarified that, for a term to be implied into an agreement, it must be either necessary for business efficacy or so obvious that it goes without saying. This is a significant judgment for commercial...more

To submit or not to submit – questions of jurisdiction

This appeal arose out of the litigation fallout from the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme. In the appeal, the Privy Council considered whether, at common law, an agreement to submit to jurisdiction must be express or whether it...more

Appeal Court Applies Correctness Standard of Review for Standard Form Contracts, Distinguishes Sattva

The Court of Appeal for Ontario has held that appeal courts will review decisions interpreting standard form contracts on a correctness standard, as opposed to the more deferential standard of review of reasonableness....more

How Many Signatures Are Required For An Agreement of Merger?

Corporations Code Section 313 generally provides that a contract, note or other instrument will not be invalidated as to a corporation by any lack of authority if it is signed by the corporation’s chairman of the board, the...more

Surrogacy Contracts are Alive and Well in Pennsylvania

In today’s modern world of technology, how babies are created is greatly different than in the yesterdays of our parents’ world. Today, there are sperm donors, egg donors, gestational carriers, in vitro fertilization, to...more

The UK Supreme Court Clarifies The Test For Implying A Term In To A Contract Is A Stringent Test And Has Not Been Diluted

Marks and Spencer plc v BNP Paribas Securities Services Trust Company (Jersey) Limited and anor [2015] UKSC 72 - This morning the UK Supreme Court handed down its much anticipated judgment in the case cited above. The...more

Natural Language Interpretation Triumphs Despite Junior Noteholders’ Frustration With Rating Agency

The claimant Note Trustee and Issuer Security Trustee (the Trustee) sought the Court's assistance interpreting a servicing agreement (in the context of a mid-2007 commercial mortgage-backed securitisation (CMBS) transaction)...more

Does General Release Also Cover Noncompete Agreement?

In determining the proper scope of the general release, the court analyzed both the express contract language and the parties' negotiations. Regarding the express contract language, the court found that the general release...more

Eastern District of New York ultimately arrives at right outcome when interpreting “Employer’s Liability” exclusion in CGL policy

In Hastings Development, LLC v. Evanston Insurance Company, No. 14-cv-6203 (ADS)(AKT) (Oct. 30, 2015), the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York correctly determined that an “Employer’s Liability” exclusion...more

“Conforming With” May Not Be “Pursuant To”

Lawyers often will write “pursuant to [name of law or regulation]” without expecting the phrase to be the source of controversy.  But language is an inherently ambiguous tool and lawyers will, if adequately feed, argue about...more

California Appellate Court Enforces Homeowners Insurance Policy Exclusions

On October 21, 2015, the California Second Appellate District Court of Appeal issued its opinion in Grebow v. Mercury Insurance, which was modified without a change in judgment on October 26. The opinion offers an in-depth...more

Court Of Chancery Explains How To Interpret A Contract

This is a great case for an explanation of how a court should go about interpreting an ambiguous contract. It explains how extrinsic evidence is used and the role of the good faith negotiator principle....more

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