Williams v. Walker-Thomas Furniture Co.

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Williams v. Walker-Thomas Furniture Co.
District of Columbia Court of Appeals Seal.svg
Court United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
Full case name Ora Lee WILLIAMS, Appellant, v. WALKER-THOMAS FURNITURE COMPANY, Appellee.
Citation(s) 350 F.2d 445 (D.C. Cir. 1965)
Transcript(s) http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=9052480984854382590
Case opinions
J. Skelly Wright

Williams v. Walker-Thomas Furniture Co., 350 F.2d 445 (D.C. Cir. 1965), was a court opinion, written by Judge J. Skelly Wright, that had a definitive discussion of unconscionability as a defense to enforcement of contracts in American contract law. As a staple of first-year law school contract law courses, it has been briefed extensively.[1][2]

It flows from interpretation of the Uniform Commercial Code § 2-302 (1954) and is relevant for the Restatement (Second) of Contracts § 208.


The case involved Walker-Thomas (Washington, D.C. at 7th St. & L St. NW) extending credit from 1957 to 1962 to Williams for a series of furniture purchases. The contract was written in such a way that no furniture could be paid off until all of it was. When Williams defaulted on the contract in 1962, Walker-Thomas tried to repossess all the furniture sold since 1957. The District of Columbia Court of Appeals ruled that the lower court could rule the contract unconscionable and refuse to enforce it, and returned the case to the lower court to decide whether or not the contract was in fact unconscionable.


J. Skelly Wright held that the case needed to be sent back to trial to determine further facts, but in doing so held that a contract may be set aside if it was procured through unconscionable means.


This case is often used by professors[who?] to question their students' ideology or presumptions.[3] It is also used as a case study in some modern economics classes.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Russell B. Korobkin, "A 'Traditional' and 'Behavioral' Law-and-Economics Analysis of Williams v. Walker-Thomas Furniture Company," UCLA School of Law, Law & Econ. Research Paper No. 03-24 and University of Hawaii Law Review, Vol. 26, p. 441, 2004, found at SSRN papers web site. Accessed March 27, 2008.
  2. ^ eTouch Briefs web site. Accessed March 27, 2008.
  3. ^ The Conglomerate web site. Accessed March 27, 2008.
  4. ^ Course syllabus, ECON 330, Bucknell University official web site. Accessed March 27, 2008.

External links[edit]