Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Would the "Current" Article 3 Please Stand Up!

Time for a hard-core commercial law teaching post. This week, I'm covering suretyship defenses, including those available to accommodation parties under UCC § 3-605. The problem is that the statutory supplement and book that I use refer to the 2002 revised version of UCC Article 3, especially § 3-605, as the "current" version. One would think a 6-year-old revision would be "current," but the problem is that only 7 states have adopted the revision. My state (Illinois) is not one of those (they are Arkansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Nevada, South Carolina, Oklahoma, and Texas). The "old" and "current" versions of § 3-605 are quite different in at least one important respect (release of principal obligor), so what to do?

I've decided to compare the real "current" version (the pre-2002-revision one) with the "revised" version of § 3-605 (see Class no. 24). This is a lot of work, because the section is complex, but I think it's useful to emphasize the separation between the UCC as model law and the state-adopted form of the model, which are not always the same. To make matters worse, Illinois (and 18 other states) use the Multistate Essay Exam instead of testing specific state commercial law. It is not clear whether the Illinois examiners want students to apply the pre- or post-revision version of § 3-605, and wouldn't you know it, a question on this very point appeared on the bar exam relatively recently. Grrrrrrrrrr!

Are others encountering this problem, and if so, what do you do?

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