Confounded Expectations: The Law's Struggle with Personal Responsibility

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SIU Press, 2000 - Law - 151 pages
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George W. Jarecke and Nancy K. Plant present a selection of cases across a broad spectrum of American law to demonstrate that our society relies inappropriately on the legal system to cure ills the system was not designed to address.

Jarecke and Plant note that while we in the United States worry considerably about the problem of individual assumption of responsibility?whether for personal mistakes, financial setbacks, or pure bad luck?we appear uneasy about the concept and unclear about what it means on a daily basis. Not only are we incapable of accepting personal responsibility; we barely know what it means to do so.

Mistakenly, we turn to the legal system to solve this dilemma. Yet our laws as our legislators write them, as judges interpret them, as lawyers argue them, and as juries apply them send mixed messages about whether and how we should exercise personal responsibility.

Each chapter of Confounded Expectations features one main case to explain one legal theory, with other cases noted as examples of facets of each theory. To demonstrate the law that requires merchants to guarantee the quality of their products, for example, Jarecke and Plant discuss the case of the band mothers whose fund-raising luncheon menu included turkey salad contaminated by salmonella. Peripheral cases include a horse falsely sold as a gelding, a riding mower that tipped over when used as instructed, makeup that was guaranteed to be safe but caused a rash, and pigs sick with hog cholera.

 

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Contents

Part One Following the Rules
9
The Implied Warranties
17
Whether You Want It or Not
25
Part Two Making It Fair
33
Part Three Gaming the System
57
Summons and a Complaint
66
But Not for the Rotten Apples
76
Part Four Weighing the Interests
85
When a Promise Isnt a Promise
94
When Delegating Authority
102
Murder Most Foul
109
Vanishing Remedies
117
Notes
131
Selected Bibliography
145
Copyright

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About the author (2000)

George W. Jarecke, former instructor in the English department at Auburn University and in-house counsel at American International Group, is now a part-time lawyer and full-time writer. 

 

Nancy K. Plant, former associate professor at Widener University School of Law in Wilmington, Delaware, is currently in-house counsel at Immunex Corporation, a biotechnology company in Seattle.

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