Wednesday, May 14, 2003

A galaxy far, far away – with no tortious liability

I got bored yesterday, and I started thinking, what would a lawyer in the “Star Wars” sequence do? Then I realised, it’s obvious from the films that we’re dealing with a universe containing no lawyers at all. Here are my reasons.

The Empire was very poorly advised

1. Any competent lawyer would have told the Emperor his universe-domination strategy was all wrong. Rather than rule by force he should have franchised The Dark Side™, and shielded himself from personal liability through franchisee agreements, independent contractors and a corporate structure. Let’s see the Rebellion touch his wrinkly butt now!

2. However, the non-existence of lawyers in the Empire was proved by the arbitrary destruction of an entire planet (Alderaan) by the first Death Star. No way that coulda happened in a lawyer-infested universe without the Empire being tied up in wrongful death suits for a millennium.

3. With competent counsel, Darth Vader would never have bother with cybernetic reconstruction and going on to a highly prestigious 2IC position to the Emperor before finalising his workers comp claim and/or his action against Obi Wan for his horrifying lava injuries. His ability to sue for lost earning capacity and physical impairment is now right out the window.

Two general points

4. In a world with lawyers, when Leia was captured, someone woulda read her her rights. And I hope the mind probe that floated in after Vader was recording the interview, coz I dunno how it was meant to be admissible evidence otherwise.

5. In a world with lawyers, the Senate would never have been dissolved. It would be calling for a judicial inquiry into the disappearance of Alderaan, and appointing an independent prosecutor to examine the Emperor’s involvement.

Product liability issues

6. In “The Attack of the Clones” there are flying cars in big cities. What happens when these things run outta gas? I’ll tell you what, they plummet several hundred metres to a fiery impact collecting plaintiffs – sorry, injuring people – on the way. The ensuing class action would shut down the manufacturer and ensure a product recall. In a future with lawyers, there will be no flying cars.

7. Ultra-fast-shutting automatic doors in the first trilogy, the ones people step through all the time. Is there any need for them to shut so fast? How come one never clipped the arm off a storm-trooper? Again, it’s a product liability case waiting to happen. Each door should be labelled in three-foot red letters: “Move quickly or this will rip your arm off.” Speaking of warning signs …

8. In a world with lawyers, there is no way anyone could slide down a random chute into a monster-inhabited lake within a garbage compactor. Some idiot would have done it before and sued, resulting in a big sign on the chute reading: “Warning! This chute leads to a monster-inhabited lake within a garbage compactor! Sliding down may result in DEATH!”

9. Light sabres would not exist. In the new films, they train kids with those things! The first baby-Jedi to get his foot cut off would have resulted in a government ban and buy-back scheme and probably an inquiry into the Jedi Order. Yup, lawyers would’ve shut those Jedi down. So why did Palpatine bother sending them off to die in the Clone Wars? Unrealistically elaborate way to get rid of them, it seems to me.

In conclusion, if you really want to see “Attack of the Clones” just go piss off a company represented by a top tier law firm. They’ll only be armed with prestige-brand fountain pens, but man, they can still be scary.

PS Naylor has been delayed due to persistent ill-health. Late today or tomorrow, I promise.

No comments: