Restoring Restitution to the Canon

The Restatement (Third) of Restitution and Unjust Enrichment brings clarity and light to an area of law long shrouded in fogs that linger from an earlier era of the legal system. It makes an important body of law once again accessible to lawyers and judges. This new Restatement should be on every litigator’s bookshelf, and a broad set of transactional lawyers and legal academics would also do well to become familiar with it. Credit for this Restatement goes to its Reporter, Professor Andrew Kull. Of course his work benefited from the elaborate processes of the American Law Institute, with every draft reviewed by a Members’ Consultative Group, a committee of Advisers, the Council, and the Membership. I was an active part of that consultative process; I know this project well. But Professor Kull controlled the word processor and did the work, and only he had the breadth and depth of understanding to complete this project. No one else in the American legal academy could have done it since John Dawson and George Palmer, the two great Michigan restitution scholars of the midtwentieth century. And at least for contemporary legal audiences, Dawson and Palmer would not have done it nearly as well. They were too much a part of the earlier era that American lawyers no longer understand.