Substantial performance doctrine
Opinion Drafting Paper Instructions
In this module/week you studied two standards for measuring whether one party’s failure to perform all of their obligations under the contract is cause for the other party to the contract to discontinue their performance under the contract. The last assignment gave you a chance to think critically about a judicial opinion. This assignment will challenge you to draft a hypothetical dispute and then decide the dispute by writing your own judicial opinion. Address each item below.
- What are the common law “substantial performance” doctrine and the Uniform Commercial Code “perfect tender rule” (UCC 2-601)? When and how do courts use them? How are they different?
- Which rule (“substantial performance” or “perfect tender”) better preserves and encourages the integrity and sanctity of promise making and promise keeping, or are they both equally effective or ineffective in this pursuit? Fully justify your answer.
- Draft the facts of hypothetical legal dispute involving 2 parties, where the only issue is whether there has been substantial performance of the contract. Design your hypothetical such that each side has a reasonable argument that there was or was not substantial performance. Next, draft an opinion applying the substantial performance rule to your case facts, decide the case, and fully justify your decision.
- Write your paper in the form of a judicial opinion, with the facts of your hypothetical case incorporated into the “Statement of Facts” portion of the opinion and your resolution in the “Discussion” portion of the opinion. Use the provided Judicial Opinion Template as an example of the format for a judicial opinion. Additionally, you have now read a number of judicial opinions that will give you a sense for the style and organization that judicial opinions generally take.
You must prepare an opinion that is 2–3 pages in current Bluebook format. You must also include at least 2 references from the course textbook, case law, or other legal authority sources.
Submit this assignment by 11:59 p.m. (ET) on Monday of Module/Week 7.
In the Circuit Court for the County of [choose a county]
State of [choose a state]
[Name of the Plaintiff],
Plaintiff, Case No. [Make up a case number]
Judge [Put your full name here]
[Name of the Defendant],
Opinion of the Court
[Note that judicial opinions do not typically caption the introduction, statement of facts, and opinion sections of the opinion, but occasionally do, and you should for your Opinion to make it easier to organize. Your introduction should indicate that the dispute between the parties came before the court at trial, and that after hearing all of the evidence presented by the parties at trial, the court has rendered the following opinion.]
Statement of Facts
[Here you will describe the hypothetical facts that you have prepared. Describe the facts with enough detail that you will have some facts to analyze in the discussion section below.]
[The discussion section is where the court describes the law, applies the facts, justifies the conclusion it reaches, and explains why the losing party’s argument was unpersuasive. Here you will set out the legal principles at issue, apply the facts to those legal rules, and justify your conclusion in this case. You may divide your discussion section into subheadings if you think that helps organize your discussion.]
[The conclusion simply restates the court’s ultimate conclusion, finding in favor of one party and against the other. For purposes of your assignment, it can be as short as one sentence, and as long as a paragraph.]