Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Dean Milk Co. v. Madison (US Supreme Court, 1951)

Beru Lars would pour a tall glass of blue milk for her husband Owen and their nephew Luke every night with dinner. They relied on the "Grade A" stamp on their bottles of blue milk to know that the blue milk they drank was pure, as well as rich, delicious, nutritious and refreshing after a hard day's work on the moisture farm.
They rely on their local government on Tatooine to provide that "Grade A" stamp. Cities and towns on Tatooine passed their own measures to provide inspection of blue milk.

The General Ordinances of the City of Mos Eisley, § 7.21 provides as follows:‘It shall be unlawful for any person, guild or corporation to sell, offer for sale or have in his or its possession with intent to sell or deliver in the City of Mos Eisley, any blue milk, blue cream or blue milk products as pasteurized unless the same shall have been pasteurized and bottled in the manner herein provided within a radius of eight kilometers from the central portion of the City of Mos Eisley otherwise known as Kerner Plaza, at a plant housing the droids, equipment and facilities, all of which shall have been approved by the Imperial Ministry of Public Health.’

The Bantha Herder Guild, an Agamar based trade association and blue milk distributing corporation (you may be familiar with their "Happy Banthas come from Agamar" ad campaign), sought a declaratory judgment that the Mos Eisley ordinance is invalid as a violation of the Interplanetary Commerce Clause of the Galactic Constitution.

The Galactic Supreme Court agreed with the Bantha Herder Guild that the ordinance imposed an undue burden on interplanetary commerce.

The Galactic Senate has recognized the appropriateness of local regulation of the sale of blue milk. The avowed purpose of the ordinance was legitimate. Regulation of blue milk and blue milk products may appropriately be regulated in the interest of the safety, health and well-being of local communities. After all, Banthas are filthy animals. Mos Eisley has an legitimate local public interest in making sure blue milk is processed in facilities that are sanitary, so that all blue milk sold to the public in Mos Eisley is fit for consumption, wholesome, and sufficiently blue.

But this regulation in practical effect excluded from distribution in Mos Eisley wholesome blue milk produced and pasteurized on Agamar. It is immaterial that Tatooine blue milk from outside the Mos Eisley area was subjected to the same proscription as that moving in interplanetary commerce.

The Court stated: "In thus erecting an economic barrier protecting a major local industry against competition from without the planet, Mos Eisley plainly discriminated against interplanetary commerce. This it cannot do, even in the exercise of its unquestioned power to protect the health and safety of its people, if reasonable nondiscriminatory alternatives, adequate to conserve legitimate local interests, are available."

It appeared to the majority of the Court that reasonable and adequate alternatives were available. Mos Eisley could have adequately relied on the Imperial Public Health Service to inspect the blue milk processing plants on Agamar and give them safety ratings.

The Court concluded by declaring that that "one planet in its dealings with another may not place itself in a position of economic isolation."

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Spring Break!

Sorry guys! We've had a busy week and expect another one coming up- The last couple of days have been dedicated to writing assignments and cover letters, and next week has been "called" by Spring Break. But we'll be back after that!

As an apology for the two of you that follow us, here's a video I found on the Internet!

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Hypothetical 4 [See White v. Samsung Electronics America, Inc.- (United States Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, 1993)]

Cybot Galactica, a mass producer of protocol droids is getting ready to promote their new model of droids based on the old 3P0 series designs. Knowing that their customers use the droids to interact with humans, Cybot Galactica attemps to show off how futuristic and interactive the new droids are by dressing them up as a human female. See advertisement below:


















C3P0, now a celebrity from his association with the New Republic hero Luke Skywalker, sees this image and wishes to sue for violation of his property right of his identity. What result?

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Erie R. Co. v Tompkins- US Supreme Court (1938)

Ponda Baba, an Aqualish smuggler, was peacefully enjoying a drink in Chalmun's Cantina in Mos Eisley, Tatooine one afternoon when a young Jedi approached him, and began to hassle the bartender Wuher, one of Ponda's friends, for a beer. Seeing that the Jedi had not paid for his drink, and knowing how upset Wuher got when droids entered the cantina, even briefly, Ponda decided to stick up for his friend, and had his partner, Dr. Cornelius Evasan translate his dislike for the arrogant Jedi. Suddenly, an older Jedi appeared and unprovokedly sliced off Ponda's arm with a lightsaber.

Under Tatooine case law (law created by court decisions, rather than by legislative statutes), Jedi were given a certain amount of leeway (to prevent unnecessary Imperial attention), and Ponda knew that any planetary court was likely to dismiss any claim he filed against his attackers.

Ponda therefore decided to file a claim in Tatooine's Imperial District Court based on diversity of citizenship (usually only Imperial issues are tried in Imperial courts, but planetary issues are allowed when, as in Ponda's case, both parties are from different planets and the amount of damages requested exceeds 75,000 credits. This is known as diversity of citizenship, and is meant to protect the non-planetary resident from bias in a planetary court).

When a planetary issue is tried in Imperial Court, the court is required to apply planetary law rather than Imperial law, in order to prevent plaintiffs from bringing suit in Imperial law just to escape unfavorable planetary law (this is known as "forum shopping"). However, at the time Ponda brought his suit against the Jedis, the Imperial court was only required to apply "written" planetary law, which included planetary statutes, but not planetary case law. Since there was no Tatooine statute prohibiting Jedi violence in cantinas, the Imperial court was free to decide the case based on Imperial common law (basically however they wanted), and awarded Ponda his requested damages.

The Jedi appealed the ruling, which was affirmed by the Imperial Appellate Court, and finally petitioned the Imperial Supreme Court. The Imperial Supreme Court reversed the decision, and held in favor of the Jedi. They reasoned that allowing Imperial courts to apply Imperial common law in cases with only planetary issues created a loophole to the prohibition of forum shopping. Under the law as it was, anyone (like Ponda) could use diversity of citizenship as a means of avoiding bringing suit in a planetary court. They pointed to an earlier case (Black & White AT-ATs v Brown & Yellow AT-ATs), where an AT-AT rental company actually moved to a different planet in order to meet the requirements of diversity of citizenship and avoid planetary law. Based on that negative precedent, the Imperial Supreme Court reversed, and held that Imperial courts were hereinafter required to apply both planetary statutes AND planetary case law when deciding diversity of citizenship cases.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Trial of Han Solo

This comes on recommendation from our friend Andy E., after seeing how great a fit it was, we had no choice but to post it. This site had utterly no hand in making this, but it's grand. Just grand.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Vocabulary of the Law: Desultory- (Used in United States v. Hamilton, United States District Court of the District of Columbia, 1960)

Desultory- Lacking a plan, purpose, or enthusiasm. (Oxford English Dictionary)

(as used in the majority opinion)-
"[The defendant and the deceased] played several games of pool. They imbibed intoxicating beverages in the rear of the establishment, and they also carried on desultory conversations. There was an exchange of banter between the deceased and the defendant, which developed into an argument, and finally into an acrimonious quarrel..."
United States v. Hamilton (1960)

Ponda Baba and his close chum and drinking buddy Dr. Evazan were enjoying a relaxing afternoon in Chalmun's Cantina in Mos Eisley listening to the house band Figrin D'an and the Modal Nodes, carrying on desultory conversation and recanting of old stories with their fellow patrons. A young human pulled up to the bar and knocked Ponda Baba's drink over without apologizing, Ponda Baba recognized that a "party foul" had occurred and wished to point out to the young human, that knocking over drinks without apologizing wasn't just cool, it could be dangerous in certain contexts. At that point, Evazan took over and blew the whole thing way out of proportion, leading to a long and awkward trip between Ponda Baba and Evazan on the way to the medical droid station down the alleyway.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Schwartzreich v. Bauman Basch, Inc.- (Supreme Court of New York, 1921)

Jabba the Hutt, frustrated by a certain smuggler's ongoing debt, employed the intergalactic bounty hunting services of Boba Fett. Jabba, following the the underworld's news feeds, suspected that Solo would likely head towards the Cloud City. Jabba then had Bib Fortuna write up a lengthy contract regarding the bounty on Solo. The terms of the contract stipulated that Fett was to travel to the Outer Rim in his hunt for the elusive Solo, and upon his capture was to immediately return to Tatooine. Fett signed the contract and proceeded to Slave I to begin fulfilling his obligations under the contract.

Along the way, Fett was summoned by Darth Vader and amongst his bounty hunting peers aboard the Super Star Destroyer Executor, was given additional (ie, superior) monetary consideration for the capture of Solo. While Jabba promised a healthy bounty, Vader assured the same bounty and that he would surrender his hypothetically unending legal right to force choke Fett at any time. Fett then hailed Jabba over comscan, informing him of the new arrangement with Vader. Jabba offered to increase the bounty, and the two formed a new contract, which Fortuna forwarded to Fett over comscan.

Soon after, Fett was able to capture Solo on the Cloud City of Bespin, and began his return transit to Tatooine, but did not contact Jabba to inform him of the news. In the interim, Jabba realized that Fett simply could not be trusted to fulfill duties under the contract, and contracted Dengar to do the job for less. Just as Slave I returned to Tatooine orbit, Jabba transmitted the news to Fett, and summarily refused to pay Fett the bounty.

Fett sued for breach of contract, with the bounty as expectation damages. Jabba argued that the second contract with Fett was a coercive contract for a pre-existing duty to perform. Fett argued that he and Jabba had mutually consented to terminate the original before enacting the latter contract, and the court agreed. Stating that the prior contract had been properly rescinded, and a new one established in its place, Fett then received his well earned bounty and returned to Bespin for another session...

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Hammer v. Dagenhart- (US Supreme Court, 1918)

Lando Calrissian, without doubt the classiest administrator the Bespin Cloud City had ever known, was in a pickle. Lando had just recently been able to bring the tibanna gas mining operation back up to profitable levels through the use of incredibly inexpensive ugnaught labor. The tibanna gas mined by the ugnaught mining crews and frozen in carbonite by ugnaught carbonite tech crews was distributed throughout the galaxy for use in developing hyperdrive and weapon technology. While some had murmured that the 18+ hour shifts and dangerous working conditions the ugnaughts toiled under were immoral, Calrissian easily shrugged off these complaints, knowing full well that the ugnaughts were a hardy, hard-working race. Besides, production was high and the credits were pouring into the station like a Naboo waterfall.

The Galactic Imperial Senate (just before its forceful dissolution) caught wind of this activity, as well as other such clandestine uses of diminutive species labor in the Outer Rim, and fearing a theoretical "race to the bottom" in labor standards throughout the galaxy, raised legislation that set wage levels and affixed limits on the amount of work hours. Under this legislation, any goods constructed from such "scoundrel-esque" and "rogue-ish" uses of labor could be barred from entering interplanetary commerce.

Calrissian, seeing the writing on the wall, had his chief administrator and legal advisor, Lobot, file an injunctive complaint with the Imperial Court, stating that the Imperial Senate had no power to create such legislation, that any supposedly applicable interplanetary commerce clause under the Old Republic constitution would be inapplicable to the Bespin Cloud City's mining activities; that mining as a purely local activity is too indirectly related to interplanetary commerce to fall under the Old Republic Senate's classic means of enacting legislation. The complaint further suggested that Imperial Senate's invocation of the almost ancient clause was merely a "pretext" for enacting legislation affecting purely planetary issues, a firm violation of the Cloud City's sovereignty.

The Imperial Court agreed, stating that the tibanna gas in question was not a harmful item that could be kept out of interplanetary commerce, simply the nature of the gas' mining and manufacturing was offensive to the Imperial Senate. As mining, manufacturing, hydrofarming and other forms of production were all planetary issues out of the Empire's hands (at the time), the Court struck down the legislation, allowing Calrissian's callous use of ugnaught labor to continue. Little did the Imperial Court know however, that by striking down the Imperial Senate's legislation that they had only made it more powerful then they could even imagine... [See, US v. Darby- (US Supreme Court, 1944)]

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

McCray v. United States- (US Supreme Court, 1904) [The oleomargarine tax case]

Dex's Diner serves up the best Vercupti of sgazza boleruueƩ in CoCo Town. What's the difference that draws in such notables as Obi-wan Kenobi? It's Dex's secret ingredient: lubricating oil.

Now, Dex didn't become a successful diner owner by wasting money on the finest quality ingredients, so he uses synthetic lubricating oil in his Vercupti of sgazza boleruueƩ. It tastes about the same, and no one has ever noticed the difference because the synthetic lubricating oil manufacturer artificially colored their product to give it the same, rich brown hue of natural lubricating oil.

Recently, Dex noticed a sharp jump in the price of synthetic lubricating oil. That's because the powerful natural lubricating oil industry lobbied the Galactic Senate for measures to eliminate the unwelcome competition from synthetic oils. The Galactic Senate passed a tax on artificially colored synthetic lubricating oil of 10 credits per pound, while clear synthetic lubricating oil remained taxed at 0.25 credits per pound.

I Can't Believe It's Not Natural Lubricating Oil Corp. brought suit to have the tax declared unconstitutional, claiming that the tax arbitrarily discriminated against synthetic lubricating oil in favor of natural lubricating oil as to destroy the synthetic lubricating oil industry for the benefit of the natural lubricating oil industry, and is thus repugnant to those fundamental principles which are inherent in the Galactic Constitution.

The Supreme Court ruled that the judiciary had no power to question the motive of the Galactic Senate in the exercise of its constitutional powers.

The power to tax is the power to destroy, but it is still a power of the Galactic Senate to use at its own discretion. Nothing in the Galactic Constitution limits the power to tax. It is beyond the Court's power to strike down a lawful tax, even if it seems unwise or oppressive.

The Court also stated that synthetic lubricating oil is greatly different from natural. The Court pointed out that some planets have banned the manufacture of artificially colored synthetic lubricating oil because it deceives the public.

Dex simply added his own artificial coloring to clear synthetic lubricating oil after this case. No one has complained.

Personally, I recommend just sticking to a hot cup of ardees if you visit Dex's Diner...

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Vocabulary of the Law: Inimical- (Used in Souter's Dissent from Alden v. Maine, US Supreme Court, 1999)

Courts use a lot of specific language that's not used in every day conversation in their opinions. These 'vocabulary' posts will explain a term used in an opinion, and will hopefully give you a tasty treat to impress people with at future social functions.

Inimical- Adverse or injurious in tendency or influence; harmful, hurtful. (Oxford English Dictionary)

(as used in Souter's Dissent)-
"It would be hard to imagine anything more inimical to the republican conception, which rests on the understanding of its citizens precisely that the government is not above them but of them, its actions being governed by the law just like their own." Alden v. Maine (1999)
It was a little known fact that after completing a contract, Boba Fett would visit a psychotherapy clinic on Bespin and engage their services, where he would talk about his issues with abandonment and residual feelings of paternal loss (also known as "daddy issues") and finish up by participating in a group-based "cry session", where he would express his sorrows through extensive sobbing, and by communal hugging as a means to comfort those feelings. Fett had this information suppressed (often by threat of physical violence) as it was inimical to his well crafted image as an intimidating, no-nonsense killer for hire.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

United States v Jewell- (United States 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, 1976)

Han Solo was captured by the Imperial Star Destroyer Devastator in a smuggling run from Tatooine to Alderan. After breaching the vessel, the Stormtroopers stumbled upon Jedi that had been concealed in a secret compartment aboard the Millennium Falcon. Imperial Law prohibits smuggling- “A person who knowingly engages in the interplanetary transportation of Jedi is guilty of interplanetary smuggling.”

Before the Imperial District Court, Han testified that although he knew of the secret compartment, and was aware of the possibility that the Jedi had been hidden there (while Han was conveniently drinking Flameouts in a cantina nearby); he had deliberately avoided looking in the compartments after takeoff so that he could avoid responsibility if he was caught. Therefore, he stated, his actions did not meet the “knowingly” requirement of the smuggling statute.

The District Court ruled that even though Han did not have ‘positive knowledge” of the incident, deliberate ignorance should be held equally culpable, and convicted Han under the statute.

The Imperial Appellate Court affirmed the conviction, determining that the District Court need only prove “beyond a reasonable doubt, that [Han’s ignorance of the presence of the Jedi] was solely and entirely a result of a conscious purpose to avoid learning the truth.”

The Jedi however, were allowed to leave the Imperial vessel unharmed. It turns out they weren’t the Jedi the stormtroopers were looking for.

Hypothetical 3 [See US Constitution (Art. I, §8, Cl. 3; §9, Cl. 2)]

The Republic Senate has the power to create legislation over interplanetary commerce, including the channels, instrumentalities, individuals and droids of such commerce. The Trade Federation has formed a blockade around the planet Naboo for undetermined reasons. The Senate has dispatched two Jedis to negotiate with representatives from the Trade Federation. The negotiations fail, and the Republic Senate quickly creates a new law forbidding any blockades, and then files suit against the Trade Federation for their "flagrant" violation of that law. What result?

Sunday, January 31, 2010

People v. (Huey) Newton- (California Court of Appeals, 1970)

Han Solo and Chewbacca were relaxing in Chalmun's Cantina on Tatooine, when Chewie stood up and left the table to grab another Algerine for him and Solo. The rodesian bounty hunter, Greedo, recognizing his chance, then sat down and confronted Solo regarding Jabba the Hutt's bounty on his head. In the middle of the conversation, Greedo felt threatened and attempted to pull a blaster on Solo, which lead to a physical struggle between the two. When Imperial Stormtroopers then rushed into the Cantina to break up the quarrel, Greedo managed to squeeze off a shot into Solo's abdomen. Solo then proceeded to draw his blaster and execute Greedo, and in a rampage of violence killed several other Stormtroopers and Cantina patrons, before running several miles and passing out in the street.

Waking up in a cell in the brig, Solo claimed that after Greedo shot him he could not remember anything that followed after. Expert testimony by a GH-7 medical droid suggested that indeed, after being shot Solo went into a state known as "Automatism"; under which, like a droid he had no conscious control over himself, merely recieving input and submitting output (in the form of repeated blaster fire). The medical droid suggested that such a state could be in this reflex shock condition for up to a half an hour.

This raised several issues for the Outer Rim Court on Tatooine, as one of the elements of being charged with a criminal act is the requirement of "mens rea", or the mental culpability (or intent to commit the act). If Solo was not actually conscious during this obscene flurry of violence, it would be philosophically repugnant to punish him for an act outside of his control. This concern was also to be balanced with the notion that Solo had (even in his "droid-like" state) managed to kill several innocent individuals. The case was eventually remanded by the court for a jury determination as to whether or not Solo's act was voluntary.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Marbury v Madison (US Supreme Court, 1803)

After winning the Battle of Endor, the Rebel Alliance assembled The New Republic under the articles of the New Republic Common Charter. Leia Organa Solo was the second, fourth, and sixth Chief of State. As she was preparing to leave office (for the final time), she made several last minute appointments to the Coruscant judiciary, including an honorary judge-ship for her long-time friend, Admiral Ackbar. Although the appointments were signed and sealed before Leia left office, she, in her rush to get back to Han and the children, forgot to drop them in the mail-droid, and they were never delivered.

Leia was replaced as Chief of State by Borsk Fey’lya, a Bothan who had opposed Leia during her service as leader of the New Republic, and a long time rival of Admiral Ackbar. Upon taking office, Borsk found the undelivered judicial appointments on his desk. He decided to show Leia and Ackbar who was boss, and refused to deliver them.
Ackbar, who had been given advance notice of his judge-ship, and who was very much looking forward to retiring from the stresses of military life, petitioned the New Republic’s Court of Justice to issue a mandate ordering Borsk to deliver his appointment. He based his claim on the fact that because the appointment was signed and sealed, it was a legally valid document. He also relied on a section of New Republic law recently passed by the Senate that stated:
“The Court of Justice shall have the ability to review appeals from the courts of the planets making up the New Republic; and shall have the power to issue mandates to any court or person holding office under the authority of the New Republic.” (New Republic Senate Law on Judicial Proceedings §13)

The Court of Justice was aware that issuing a mandate ordering Borsk to enforce the appointment would be an encroachment on the powers of the Chief of State. The Justices were concerned that such an attempt to infringe on the executive power would lead Borsk to not only ignore the mandate, but to also have the Justices tossed into the Sarlacc pits of Tatooine.

In order to avoid that unpleasant outcome, the Court of Justice turned to the New Republic Common Charter. In the article describing the powers of the Court, they found a clause that read:
“In all cases affecting foreign dignitaries or ambassadors, and in cases in which a planet is a party, the Court of Justice shall have the power to hear cases of original jurisdiction. In all other cases, the Court shall only have the power to hear appeals from the lower systems, unless the Senate creates exceptions.” (New Republic Common Charter, Article III, § 2, clause 2)

Since Admiral Ackbar’s petition had been sent straight to the Court of Justice, it was not an appeal, and was therefore not allowed under the Charter. However, in order for the Justices to refuse Ackbar’s request, they had to also come up with a reason why the exception created in the New Republic Senate Law, and relied upon in Ackbar’s request, was invalid.

Upon close examination, they discovered that if they interpreted the semi-colon in the relevant provision as a period, it looked as though the clause allowing issues of mandates applied to both original and appellate jurisdiction. They had found their loophole.

In the official opinion issued by the Court, the Justices claimed a new power- the ability to interpret the Charter to make sure the laws and decrees of the Senate did not contradict the Charter’s supreme law. This power of judicial review would allow the Court to void any law they found “uncharteristic.” This allowed them to void §13 of the New Republic Senate Law on Judicial Proceedings, since it violated (kind of, maybe) the Charter’s tenet regarding Judicial power. Admiral Ackbar’s petition was therefore denied.

By granting itself the power to nullify Senate laws, the Court of Justice avoided the risk of intruding on Borsk’s power. The Justices lived to judge another day, and no Bothans died to uphold the rights and powers of the Judicial branch of the New Republic.

R v Cogdon (Australia, 1951)

After Anakin Skywalker watched his mother die at the hands of the Tusken Raiders in the deserts of Tattoine (See Portee v Jaffee), he began to have force visions in his sleep that his secret wife, Padme Amidala, was in danger of dying during childbirth. One night, after a particularly gruesome dream, where a vampiric baby straight out of Twilight ate its way out of Padme's stomach, Anakin awoke to find himself standing over his sleeping wife, force pushing on her stomach as if forcing a tiny life back into the womb. Disturbed by the situation (made worse by the fact that he had slept-flown from his current station post on Coruscant all the way to Padme's summer palace on Naboo), he consulted the Jedi Council who suggested that he freeze himself in carbonite before sleeping, in the hopes that the suspended animation might end the horrific visions.

That evening, while communicating via hologram with Padme and the droids, C3PO expressed his trepidation about the ongoing war against the Sith lord Darth Sidious. That night, Anakin had 3PO freeze him in carbonite. Unfortunately, the droid, worried that in his absence R2D2 would cheat at their ongoing game of holochess, set the timer incorrectly on the freezing chamber, setting the auto-unfreeze for 5 minutes instead of 5 hours. Upon unfreezing, Anakin, who was still asleep, dreamed that the Sith were attacking Padme in her home. A sinister cloaked figure was on her bed, lightsaber drawn.

Anakin awoke to find himself crying hysterically, landing his ship on Coruscant. He rushed to Obi-Wan's room and told him that he was afraid he had harmed Padme. Together they rushed back to Naboo, only to find that in his unconscious state, Anakin had hacked his wife to death.

The Jedi Council, in determining Anakin's culpability, stated that there is no crime without the presence of overt and voluntary conduct (actus reus). They found that even though Anakin had overtly preformed the act of lightsaber murder, it was a product of involuntary unconsciousness, and that the act was not actually his act at all.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Webb v. McGowin- (Court of Appeals of Alabama, 1935)

Chewbacca, having been imprisoned on Coruscant for illegally freeing wookie slaves, was being whipped to death by Commander Nyklas. Imperial Lieutenant Han Solo entered the room to inform Nyklas that comscan had detected a vessel containing a new shipment of wookie slaves had been detected dropping out of lightspeed. Before speaking, Solo noticed that the whip in Nyklas' hand was about to deliver a likely lethal blow to the beaten, battered, and bloodied wookie, and overcome with guilt, heroically jumped in front of the whip as it fell. Solo was severely injured in the process (given the fact that the whip had been specifically formulated for the sturdy wookie physiology). Chewbacca then proceeded to remove Nyklas' arms from their sockets, and then decided to form a "life-debt" with Solo for his courageous act, promising to repay his kindness with services as a co-pilot, mechanic, dejarik player and drinking companion for the rest of Solo's natural life in addition to a payment of 15 credits every two weeks.

Following his heroic death at Sernpidal, Chewbacca's estate cut off the biweekly payment of 15 credits to Solo and his family. Solo shortly thereafter filed suit for breach of contract.

The New Republic Court of Appeals eventually held that even though Solo had saved Chewbacca's life without his permission, Chewbacca's life had provided the inherent consideration necessary for contractual obligation. By promising to a life-debt and 15 credits every two weeks, Chewbacca had created an effective contract. The court rationalized this by stating that even though there was no express agreement between Solo and Chewbacca before Solo intervened, Chewbacca almost certainly would have agreed to such a contract had there been time to discuss its terms. The court was relying on the concept of the "quasi-contract" or "implied contract", a "legal fiction" used by courts to imply a contract where in fact one did not exist.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Ybarra v. Spangard et al- (Supreme Court of California, 1944)

Two days following the Battle of Endor, Han Solo woke up blind. The next day, Solo consulted with a medical droid, who stated that it was a possible side-effect of his time in suspended animation in carbonite weeks earlier. While such a prolonged reaction to the process was rare, the droid stated that the possibility of such a malady was dramatically increased if the process was performed negligently.

When Solo attempted to contact and confront the carbonite crew on Bespin, they refused to respond to inquiries regarding his processing. Han then filed a lawsuit accusing negligence against the crew, relying on the doctrine of Res Ipsa Loquitur.

This doctrine transfers the burden of proof when three elements are satisfied: 1) the harm to the plaintiff must be of the kind which ordinarily does not occur in the absence of negligence, 2) it must be caused by an an agency or instrumentality in exclusive control of the defendant, and 3) the plaintiff must not have contributed to the negligence by voluntary action. The newly reconstructed Republic Court fully agreed, reasoning that the carbonite processing instruments were fully under the control of the bespin crew, and that Han, being fully restrained and in the hands of the Empire could not have contributed to the potential negligence.

Having satisfied all three elements, the burden then transferred to the Bespin carbonite crew to prove that they were NOT negligent in treating Han. The New Republic Court specifically noted that there had recently been a liberalization of the Res Ipsa Loquitur doctrine that encouraged its use in this case. Han was unlikely to have much evidence of negligence by the crew. In order to overcome a "circle of silence", that simply by remaining silent and withholding evidence the carbonite crew could prevail against Han, the doctrine should be applied.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Kannavos v. Annino- (Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, 1969)

Ackbar in preparation of leaving Dac to represent the Calamarian Council in negotiations with the Empire, was planning on selling his home. He released a series of announcements over the com-scan network advertising his house as being in first class condition and perfect for first-time house owners, and was eventually able to find ready, willing and able buyers, a young Quarren couple looking to start a family.

As the couple toured the house with Ackbar, their Mon Cal Realtor agent close behind them, the owners inquired as to the condition of the house's structural integrity and foundation. Almost without thinking, Ackbar let slip "It's a tra--traditional style home." Ackbar was about to say that the house was a trap, knowing full well that the house's foundation was on the verge of collapse having been built on unstable structures just above the ocean. The Quarren couple, relying on Ackbar's reputation and statements purchased the house, and as predicted, shortly after Ackbar left Dac, the house collapsed.

While no-one was killed in the incident, the Quarren couple sued Ackbar for making an untrue representation, as by making a statement regarding the house, Ackbar had a duty to be full and forward with his statements regarding the house. While it was true that the buyers could have found out by inquiries with the city council, the fact that Ackbar made these falsified assertions made this distinct from case precedent. The Mon Cal Council found for the couple, not only because of the rationale, but also due to Ackbar not showing up for the court date, as he had been enslaved by the Empire.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Proctor v. State- (Criminal Court of Appeals of Oklahoma, 1918) [Back to Buisness]

Shortly following the Emperor's initiation of Order 66, the secondary market for Jedi lightsabers exploded, with hundreds filling the black markets on Coruscant. While the statutory language of Order 66 largely dealt with the removal of Jedi commanders, §A(3) made it illegal for any citizen of the Empire to possess Jedi paraphernalia with the intention of practicing the Jedi arts, including the use of lightsabers; punishable by death by means of firing squad, force choke or lightning. Mere ownership of lightsabers exclusively, however, was not illegal.

Marso Yula was a low level bureaucrat and Imperial officer on Coruscant who secretly collected lightsabers purchased from bounty hunters, stormtroopers, and the black markets. Yula wished to learn the ways of the Jedi, but had never acted upon these intentions. While following a tip in efforts to obtain the light saber of fabled Jedi Qui-Gon Jinn, Yula was arrested by a stormtrooper raid and later charged under violation of Order 66, §A(3).

However, upon review by the Coruscant division of the Imperial Court of Appeals Order 66 §A(3) was termed "inoperative and void." The court held that since ownership of lightsabers was entirely legal, the fact that Yula had an illegal intent to learn the Jedi arts was immaterial. Under the Imperial Penal Code, charging an individual with a crime required BOTH a physical act (Actus Reus) and an intent to act illegally (Mens Rea). While Yula may have (and in fact, did) intended to act illegally by learning the ways of the Jedi, the unfilled action meant a lack of "Actus Reus", and thus Yula could not be charged with a crime. Order 66 §A(3) was then struck down for its problematic requirements, and Yula was released, but was compelled to "donate" her collection to Darth Vader via a most persuasive force gripping.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Hypothetical 2 [See Palsgraf v. Long Island Railroad Co.- (Court of Appeals of New York, 1928)]

At the Boonta Eve Classic, Ody Mandrell's droid accidently was pulled through his pod's engine, causing an explosion that set off a chain reaction that caused a large part of the stands of the Mos Espa Grand Stadium to collapse and crushed Ziro the Hutt's prized jester Gibberous Crumb, injuring him severely. Crumb sues Ody Mandrell for negligence. What result?