Law Quadrangle (formerly Law Quad Notes)


In the jointly-authored section below, "I" refers to Professor James J. White and "we" refers to White and co-author David A. Peters.

Jack Dawson, known to many at Michigan as Black Jack, taught at the Law School from 1927 to 1958. Much of his work was published in the Michigan Law Review, where he served as a student editor during the 1923-24 academic year. We revisit his work and provide a footnote to his elegant writing on mistake and supervening events.

In Part 1, we talk a little about Jack the man. In Part II, we recite the nature and significance of his scholarly work. Part III deals briefly with the cases decided in the last 20 years by American courts on impracticability, impossibility, mistake, and frustration of purpose. We focus particularly on the afterlife of the notorious Alcoa case that was the subject of Jack's last articles. Part IV concludes with some speculation on the reasons for the different responses of German and American courts to claims of mistake or superveneing events.