Home Blog Page 3

Could the New Hampshire Bureau for Paranormal Phenomena Just Perform Autopsies?

Stan Against Evil is back! The season is off to a strong start as a love letter to The X-Files, Koljack the Night Stalker, and Kaiju movies.

The second episode entitled The Hex Files has Agent Nesbitt of the New Hampshire Bureau for Paranormal Phenomena (NHBPP) performing an autopsy on a demonic victim.

Sheriff Evie asked if they could just go in and perform an autopsy, which raises the issue of who can perform autopsies.

New Hampshire law on performance of autopsies state:

I. If the supervising medical examiner, attorney general, or county attorney deems that an autopsy is necessary, he or she shall direct that one be made. The commissioner of the department of health and human services may, pursuant to RSA 126-A:5, V, request an autopsy of any individual who dies while admitted to, a resident of, or receiving care from New Hampshire hospital, Glencliff home, or any other residential facility operated by the department or a contract service provider.

II. The supervising medical examiner shall have the authority to conduct an autopsy and shall comply with any request by the attorney general, a county attorney, or the commissioner of health and human services to perform an autopsy.

N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 611-B:17.

Agent Nesbitt performed an autopsy without a determination of necessity by the supervising medical examiner, attorney, or county attorney. While Evie is the town sheriff, she does not hold any of the required positions to order an autopsy. While Evie arguably had lawful access to the morgue in her official position, she cannot give permission for an autopsy to be performed. However, Sheriff Evie is in position to ask any of the authorized officials to grant Agent Nesbitt permission to perform an autopsy. Evie could have added that Nesbitt even had her own gloves if the county had budget concerns…

The Ethical Problems of Changing the name of Nelson & Murdock

Season 3 of Daredevil was phenomenal, and easily one of the best seasons of the Marvel Netflix series, or of any show for that matter.

Major spoilers ahead if you have not finished Daredevil season 3! 

Like most viewers who had just finished watching this masterpiece, I began to dissect the ethical issues presented by the protagonists’ plan to partner with Karen Page as they reopen their law firm with the name Nelson Murdock & Page. One of the final scenes of this season reunites Foggy Nelson, Karen Page, and Matt Murdock, as they happily discuss how they triumphed over seemingly insurmountable odds and a near invincible enemy without compromising their core values. It is clear that, despite the trials they have gone through, the battle-weary heroes have grown closer than ever before. In an homage to when he first dreamed up the law firm of Nelson & Murdock, Foggy grabs a napkin and designs a new plaque to memorialize the recreation of their firm. Unlike the original napkin, and in recognition of the struggles and obstacles they have overcome together, this plaque reads, “Nelson Murdock & Page.” This heartfelt moment presents an ethical issue: can a nonlawyer, like Karen, be a partner in a law firm? Karen points this out, and Foggy replies that Karen is “one hell of an investigator.” This, however, does not resolve the problem of whether a lawyer may partner with a nonlawyer, even one that is a skilled private investigator.

Karen pretending to be a lawyer. (All lawyers’ desks have skulls on them).

All lawyers are governed by rules of professional conduct. Foggy and Matt are subject to the New York Rules of Professional Conduct (“NYRPC”) which state, “A lawyer shall not form a partnership with a nonlawyer if any of the activities of the partnership consist of the practice of law.” NYRPC Rule 5.4(b). Rule 5.4 is titled “Professional Independence of a Lawyer” and was instituted to “protect the lawyer’s professional independence of judgment.” [1] The general theory behind subsection (b) is that if a lawyer were permitted to enter into a partnership arrangement with a nonlawyer, the nonlawyer, who is not beholden to the same ethical standards, may negatively impact the lawyer’s representation of clients in order to further the interests of the partnership. Although this rule against nonlawyer ownership has faced opposition in multiple jurisdictions, including New York, it remains in effect. In December 2011 the American Bar Association (ABA) Commission on Ethics 20/20 released for comment a discussion draft proposing a limited form of nonlawyer ownership of law firms.[2] In 2012, the New York State Bar Association House of Delegates responded to this discussion draft reaffirming its opposition at this time to any form of nonlawyer ownership of law firms.[3] Therefore, under the NYRPC Rule 5.4(b) Karen can not partner with Matt and Foggy to form a law firm in New York.

“Sorry, I’m not an avocado”

The dream of Nelson, Murdock, & Page (or Page Murdock & Nelson) is not necessarily over however. There are two ways in which the three could form a partnership, but they are unlikely. First, the three could give up on partnering to form a law firm. NYRPC Rule 5.4(b) only prohibits the partnership of lawyers and nonlawyers when the partnership provides legal services. Matt and Foggy could theoretically sacrifice their careers as attorneys and join Karen as a Private Investigator. Jessica Jones may resent the added competition, but there would be no ethical hurtles. This option is highly unlikely as Foggy and Matt seemed to be looking forward to reviving the glory days of helping the less fortunate in the courtroom and getting paid in chickens.

A slightly more palatable option would involve leaving Hell’s Kitchen, and the entire state of New York for that matter. NYRPC’s Rule 5.4 is based on ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct (“MRPC”) Rule 5.4. Most jurisdictions,[4] including New York, have adopted the MRPC, albeit with some changes. Most changes are relatively small, however Washington, D.C. has made a significant change to Rule 5.4.[5] Washington, D.C.’s Rule 5.4 permits nonlawyers to have an ownership interest in law firms, and has done so for over 20 years.[6] Washington, D.C.’s Rule 5.4 adds a limited exception for firms where the nonlawyer owner provides professional services for the law firm and the following conditions are met:

1) The partnership or organization has as its sole purpose providing legal services to clients;

2) All persons having such managerial authority or holding a financial interest undertake to abide by these Rules of Professional Conduct;

3) The lawyers who have a financial interest or managerial authority in the partnership or organization undertake to be responsible for the nonlawyer participants to the same extent as if nonlawyer participants were lawyers under Rule 5.1; and

4) The foregoing conditions are set forth in writing.[7]

Nelson Murdock and Page would likely be able to meet these conditions. The first requirement is that the nonlawyer with a financial interest in the firm must “perform[] professional services which assist the organization in providing legal services to clients.”[8] Here, Karen would be providing professional investigative services for the firm. The ABA’s Commission on Ethics 20/20 used Washington, D.C. as an example when considering a modification of Rule 5.4. In its discussion draft specifically used “investigators participating in the evaluation of cases and assisting in the evaluation of evidence and development of strategy,” as an example of a professional nonlawyer whose services would be ideally suited for partnership in a law firm. The remaining conditions would likely be easily satisfied as well. They clearly want to start a law practice with its sole purpose providing legal services to clients. Karen will have no problem agreeing to abide by the Rules of Professional Conduct. Matt and Foggy will take responsibility for Karen, and they will have no issue putting this all in writing. The only problem with this option is convincing Matt to leave his beloved Hell’s Kitchen and move to the nation’s capital.

Mr. Murdock goes to Washington.

It is worth noting that forming the firm in Washington, D.C. and keeping an office in Hell’s Kitchen is not an option. This issue was directly treated in a NYSBA Ethics Opinion.[9] In that case a New York attorney sought to either join a Washington, D.C. based firm with a nonlawyer partner or create a subsidiary office in New York for that firm. The Committee concluded that a New York-based lawyer practicing primarily in New York could not be a partner in a Washington, D.C. firm that is partially owned by a nonlawyer. The key factor in the Committee’s reasoning was the location of the majority of the attorney’s legal work. “Occasional litigation in New York” would be permissible, but “if the partnership were created for the very purpose of litigation in New York, establishing it in the District of Columbia would be ineffective to circumvent the New York rules on fee sharing.”[10] Creating a shell firm in Washington, D.C. to circumvent New York’s rules will not work.

Unless the partnership of Nelson Murdock and Page does the majority of its legal work in Washington, D.C. or does not do legal work at all, Matt and Foggy are going to run into ethical trouble if they try to partner with Karen and start a law firm. Until Karen passes the bar, “Nelson Murdock & Page” should probably stay on the napkin.

Only 3 years of school, hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, and a two-day exam away.

[1]          ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 5.4, Comment.

[2]             Jamie S. Gorelick and Michael Traynor, Discussion Paper on Alternative Law Practice Structure, December 2011, https://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/administrative/ethics_2020/20111202-ethics2020-discussion_draft-alps.authcheckdam.pdf

[3]   http://www.nysba.org/workarea/DownloadAsset.aspx?id=26682

[4]   California is the only U.S. jurisdiction which has not adopted the Model Rules of Professional Conduct as a base for its ethical rules.

[5]   For a full treatment of the differences between jurisdictions, refer to the ABA website, e.g. https://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/administrative/professional_responsibility/mrpc_5_4.pdf

[6]   A detailed history of Wasahington, D.C.’s Rules of Professional Conduct may be found here: https://www.law.cornell.edu/ethics/dc/narr/DC_NARR_0.HTM

[7]   Washington, D.C. Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 5.4(b)

[8]   Id.

[9]   NYSBA Ethics Opinion 1038 (December 16, 2014), http://www.nysba.org/CustomTemplates/Content.aspx?id=53798

[10] Id.

The Bride of Frankenstein!

The Bride of Frankenstein is a reminder that you literally cannot MAKE someone to love you. For anyone who thinks the myth of Pygmalion is a workable model in sculpting a woman to love you, Bride of Frankenstein is a healthy dose of reality. The story picks up from the ashes of the original Frankenstein, with enough changes in continuity that shows the producers had not planned to make a sequel of the original film.

The Mad Doctor

Dr. Septimus Pretorius is the archetype of the mad scientist without any ethics. Dr. Pretorius is the poster child on why the Nuremberg Code exists to protect people from human experimentation. Pretorius paid henchmen for access to catacombs, where he identified the body of a deceased woman, and noted that he hoped she had strong bones. Pretorius later stayed in the catacombs for the ambiance, where he enjoyed a bottle of wine with a coffin as a table. He took the creepiness up a notch by decorating coffin with a skull and bones for happy hour.

Laws globally are enacted to keep the living from doing everything Dr. Pretorius did in the catacombs. Anyone who knowingly “mutilates or disinters, wantonly disturbs, or willfully removes any human remains” without legal authority is guilty of a misdemeanor. Cal. Health & Safety Code § 7050.5(a). Moreover, anyone who removes any part of human remains from where they are interred, with intent to sell or dissect the remains, or with malice or wantonness, without legal authority, has committed a felony and is subject to imprisonment. Cal. Health & Safety Code § 7051; Cal. Penal Code § 1170(h). Furthermore, anyone who willfully mutilates, removes, or has sexual contact with human remains, is guilty of a felony. Cal. Health & Safety Code § 7052(a).

Dr. Septimus Pretorius willfully mutilated remains by placing the skull and bones on the coffin for his twisted picnic. This was at least a misdemeanor. The removing of the female corpse for medical experimentation is a felony.

But the crimes don’t stop there.

Crimes Against Frankenstein

Dr. Septimus Pretorius forced Dr. Henry Frankenstein to collaborate on creating a mate for Frankenstein’s Creature by kidnapping his wife Elizabeth. Pretorius held Elizabeth in an unknown location and threatened her safety in order to compel Dr. Frankenstein’s participation in creating a “friend” for the Creature.

It is worth noting that the collaboration between the two doctors sought Dr. Frankenstein’s knowledge to create a living body from corpses. Dr. Pretorius proved he could “grew” miniature people, thus would grow a brain for the Bride.

Pretorius had no moral reservations about holding people against their will. His homegrown homunculi were kept in glass jars; imprisoning Elizabeth was completely within his “means justify the ends” attitude.

Kidnapping is the forcible taking of a person. Cal. Penal Code § 207(a). Kidnapping someone for ransom is a felony that can be punished with life without parole if suffers bodily harm or is exposed to a substantial likelihood of death. Cal. Penal Code § 209. False imprisonment is the unlawful violation of the personal liberty of another. Cal. Penal Code § 236.

Elizabeth was taken by the Creature and imprisoned with threats against her life. Given the ease with the Creature had killed others, Elizabeth had been exposed to a substantial likelihood of death. Moreover, Elizabeth was taken in order to secure the compliance of Dr. Frankenstein in order to build a Bride for the Creature. This is a ransom case and Pretorius clearly committed multiple felonies.

Is Creating a Bride from a Reanimated Corpse Human Trafficking?

Dr. Septimus Pretorius compelled the help of Dr. Frankenstein and stole a human body (plus a heart on Frankenstein’s instructions) in order to build a mate for the Creature. This arguably is human trafficking…with the added twist that victim was brought to life by those who did the human trafficking.

Human trafficking is the deprivation of the personal liberty of another with the intent to obtain forced labor from the victim. This is a felony that can be punished in prison for 5, 8, or 12 years with a fine up to $500,000. Cal. Penal Code § 236.1(a).

The Bride immediately rejected the Creature after being brought to life and introduced to her “groom.” There is a defense that she was never actually deprived of her personal liberty, given how quickly the situation deteriorated, but that would ignore the Creature’s action to destroy the laboratory with “we belong dead.”

Love’s Labour’s Lost

The Creature survived being burned alive, shot at after saving a woman, pursued by a lynch mob, tortured, hunted, and imprisoned without the right to counsel. The one person who cared about him was a blind man who did not know the Creature was “a monster.” Cruelty drove the Creature straight to Dr. Pretorius who capitalized on the hate the Creature endured to transform him into “The Monster.” The Creature wanted only to be loved and took a dark path that lead to ruin. While the Creature ultimately realized what he had become, the real monsters were the ones who carried torches and strung the Creature up like an animal.

Ethical Concerns of Representing Dracula

There is the long running lawyer joke that attorneys are vampires. However, the story of Dracula features an attorney who was retained by a creature of the night for leasing property in England. In the 1931 film, Renfield travels to Transylvania and quickly falls under Dracula’s spell. Renfield assists the vampire in traveling to England aboard a sailing ship, alerting Dracula when the sun had set for the Count’s nightly feeding on sailors. For a different take on the story closer to the book, check out the Fictional Podcast has a great three part series telling the story that follows Jonathan Harker on his ill-fated trip to Transylvania.

Here is a question worthy of a bar exam, what should a lawyer do if a vampire seeks their legal representation?

Client Discrimination Based on Status as a Vampire

Attorneys have a duty “[n]ever to reject, for any consideration personal to himself or herself, the cause of the defenseless or the oppressed.” Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 6068(h). Moreover, lawyers “shall not unlawfully discriminate or knowingly permit unlawful discrimination on the basis of race, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, religion, age or disability in accepting or terminating representation of any client.” California Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 2-400(B)(2).

It would be wrong to reject representing a vampire on the sole basis the client is a vampire. Lawyers cannot discriminate based on a disability (such as being undead, bursting into fame if exposed to sunlight, and requiring human blood based on dietary restrictions), or national origin (such as being Transylvanian). These factors are alone not a basis for rejecting someone as a client and could be grounds for a discrimination lawsuit.

Lawyer Can’t Advise Breaking the Law

Renfield (or Harker in the book) did not know Dracula’s intentions besides his real property interests in England. This is important, because attorneys are not supposed to advise clients on violating laws. California Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 3-210. If the attorney knew that Dracula intended to travel to England in order to murder and feed on an unsuspecting population who did not decorate their homes with Crucifixes and Communion wafers, the attorney did not knowingly advocate violating the laws against murder. If the attorney knew Dracula’s intent, then there is a serious ethical breach.

Attorney-client Privilege Doesn’t Apply to Enabling Crimes

Attorneys have a duty to maintain their client’s confidential information. Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 6068(e)(1). However, an attorney may, but is not legally required, to reveal confidential information if the attorney believes it is necessary to prevent criminal activity that can result in death or substantial bodily harm. Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 6068(e)(2). Moreover, the attorney-client privilege does not apply if a lawyer’s services were sought to enable or aid anyone to commit a crime. Cal Evid Code § 956(a).

Dracula’s attorney would have to maintain his client’s confidential information that went into securing the real property agreements, but if the lawyer knew of Dracula’s intent to kill, then the lawyer has options for informing law enforcement. The attorney could inform the police of Dracula’s intent to kill people for their blood, which could include the location of Dracula’s properties. However, there is no legal requirement that the attorney has to inform law enforcement, which would make the lawyer a true monster if he decided to not take any action to stop his client from feeding on others.

If the attorney offered Dracula legal advice on how to murder, locations around London that would be prime hunting grounds, that advice would not be protected by the attorney-client privilege. At that point the lawyer has transformed from attorney to henchman, and is assisting with committing crimes.

The Required Medical Consent to Transfer Costello’s Brain to the Frankenstein Monster

The cultural watershed of Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein is the perfect Halloween treat of horror and comedy joining together, much like a Reece’s Peanut Buttercup.

In a tale of monsters, the Uniform Commercial Code, and possible insurance fraud, one legal issue towers above the rest: Dr. Sandra Mornay’s seduction of Wilbur Grey (Lou Costello) in order to transfer his brain to the body of Frankenstein’s Creature without Grey’s medical consent.

Doctors in Florida (the state where Wilbur Grey and Chick Young worked for a shipping company), are required to explain to patients proposed medical procedures within the accepted standards of the medical profession, so that a reasonable person would understand the risks of undergoing the procedure, or alternatives. Fla. Stat. Ann. § 766.103(3)(a)(1) and (2).

Dr. Sandra Mornay conspired with Dracula to transfer Wilbur Grey’s brain to the body of Frankenstein’s Creature. While Mornay ultimately fell under the influence of Dracula, she had agreed to the “brain transfer” before falling under Dracula’s spell. After kidnapping Grey and transporting him to an island laboratory, Dr. Mornay explained the following procedure to Wilbur:

I’m not going to hurt you. Soon, instead of being short and chubby, you’ll be big and tall and as strong as an ox. And furthermore, you’ll live forever and never grow old.

I shall remove your brain and put it in his body.

Dr. Mornay explained the basics of the removing Wilbur’s brain and placing it in the Creature, but there was no discussion of how the procedure worked or risks. Moreover, “brain transfers” are outside the accepted standards of the medical profession, as seen by the lack of “brain transfers” performed by doctors. This is in addition to Dr. Mornay having the worst bedside manner ever and body shaming Wilbur after kidnapping him.

Florida law states that it is the duty of a physician to obtain the informed consent of a patient, which requires the patient to know the degrees of danger of the medical procedure to be performed. Cedars Med. Ctr., Inc. v. Ravelo, 738 So. 2d 362, 367 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1999). Wilbur was never a patient, but a kidnap victim who was being subjected to an unorthodox medical experiment. Even if the kidnapping is overlooked, Wilbur was being subjected to a medical procedure that was never fully explained without his permission.

Informed medical consent for any procedure, especially medical experiments, is to ensure patients understand the risks. Moreover, it is to protect patients from physicians who want to play Dr. Frankenstein.

Can the Ghostbusters be sued for not coming to your assistance?

CAN THE GHOSTBUSTERS BE SUED FOR NOT COMING TO YOUR ASSISTANCE??

By: Steve B. Chu, with help from Cameron J. Chu and Brandon C. Chu

We’ve all been there: enjoying a peaceful day at the park, the kids are playing, and we line up for a sumptuous healthy repast of hot dogs, only to be interrupted by an appearance of the supernatural kind . . .

 

 

 

The horror!!

What happens now?

Who can possibly help us before the focused, non-terminal repeating phantasm, also referred to as a class 5 full roaming vapor, aka “Slimer” makes off with our healthy hot dogs???

 

 

 

 

 

Of course! We call our faithful paranormal investigators: the Ghostbusters! They are still busting ghosts after all these years, and doing it well I might add. They would handle the job and protect both our fun and our food, all at the same time. No slime on these hot dogs here!

Now, in the legal world, we live in the realm of “what if?” So what if the Ghostbusters were NOT so quick to respond? In fact, what if they didn’t particularly care for our paranormal dilemma? What if something were to happen that went a little like this . . .

 

 

 

 

 

The Ghostbusters NOT answering the call??!! Chaos would ensue: ten years of darkness, cats and dogs living together, you get the picture. So now what? Could an aggrieved park-goer now sue the Ghostbusters for their inaction?

The argument for the case would probably go something like this: the Ghostbusters are in the business of protecting people by fighting ghosts, they make their living this way and even advertise that they protect people. And yet, when I actually called them, they didn’t care! They neglected me and all the other poor park-goers. Thanks to them, we had to live with slimy hot dogs. Would such a case stand a chance in a Court of law?

 

 

 

Can the Ghostbusters be sued for not taking action? Under California law, the answer is a resounding no. In order to file a tort lawsuit seeking money damages, one must first show that the person/entity being sued had a legal responsibility to do something they did not do. Or in legal parlance, the defendant must have owed a legal duty to act. The general rule here is that absent some special responsibility, one owes no duty to control the conduct of another, nor to warn those endangered by such conduct. Davidson v. City of Westminster, 32 Cal.3d 197, 203 (1982).

In the excellent IDW Ghostbusters comic, the City of New York reached an agreement with the proton pack carrying team to have them act as a form of deputized law enforcement. So let’s take that example of law enforcement and public entities such as police and firefighters. The law makes clear that generally speaking, one cannot civilly sue public safety officers for not coming to one’s aid.

A long line of California cases protects public safety personnel from being sued based upon the failure to act reasonably in protecting members of the public. Williams v. State of California, 34 Cal.3d 18, 28 (1983); Carpenter v. City of Los Angeles, 230 Cal.App.3d 923, 931 (1990); Davidson, 32 Cal.3d at 203. Recovery has been denied for injuries caused by the failure of police personnel to respond to requests for assistance, the failure to investigate properly, or the failure to investigate at all, where the police had not made some form of promise that they would provide protection to a specific person. Williams, 34 Cal.3d at 28; Carpenter, 230 Cal.App.3d at 931.

In one example, a court found that police had no duty to act when they were engaged in surveillance of a laundromat, a victim was attacked by an assailant, and officers knew there was a similar assault the night before and saw the alleged perpetrator leave and enter the premises several times. Davidson, 32 Cal.3d at 203. The court ruled that a police officer’s mere observation of a citizen’s conduct which might create a risk of harm to others does not create a legal responsibility to control the citizen’s subsequent harmful behavior. Jackson v. Clements, 146 Cal.App.3d 983, 987 (1983).

 

 

 

 

 

The rationale for this rule? It is the age old “slippery slope.” As California Courts have recognized: “The problem is that a duty to warn in the context of danger existing off premises will seldom be as simple as passing along unverified information. Inevitably, [the Court] would be imposing not just a duty to warn but a duty to investigate, monitor and evaluate reports of off-premises dangers.”

So the concern is that if we were to allow lawsuits against public officials who are sworn to protect the public and yet fail to do so, we are significantly increasing the potential for lawsuits and people could now sue a police officer for not responding to a call that they personally believe to be meritorious. This would make things more difficult for law enforcement officials to do their jobs as they would have less ability to make their own decisions about where to focus their resources, what investigations to conduct, and how to deploy their personnel.

California also has a specific statute that prevents these type of “failure to act” lawsuits against police. California Government Code sections 818.2 and 845 state that public entities are not liable for failure to provide sufficient police protection service, for failing to make an arrest, or failing to retain an arrested person in custody.

California Courts have specifically held that: “Whether police protection should be provided at all, and the extent to which it should be provided are political decisions which are committed to the policy-making officials of government. To permit review of these decisions by judges and juries would remove the ultimate decision-making authority from those politically responsible for making the decisions.”

(Zelig v. County of Los Angeles, 27 Cal. 4th at 1142 (emphasis added).)

 

So regardless of the ultimate reason for not responding, the law protects the discretion of law enforcement and public safety officials to decide how best to go about their jobs.

Let’s take the comic example we just saw where poor Louis Tully is attempting to cross at a crosswalk before almost being viciously mowed down by a Zombie Cabbie.  What if super-assistant Janine Melnitz, and the Ghostbusting crew were otherwise engaged in all important contests of video games, pool and darts?  If that were the case, could they be sued?

 

The answer would remain a resounding no.  The reason the Ghostbusters do not act is not the concern of the inquiry.  The concern is that Courts are reluctant to impose legal obligations upon people that would force them to take action.

Undoubtedly, most situations where public safety officers don’t show up would likely involve officers who are simply tied up on other cases and unable to be everywhere at once.  One can imagine situations where public safety officers are working long hours, getting inundated with calls for assistance, and despite best efforts they still cannot respond to every call.  The law protects these officers from civil lawsuits for the alleged failure to respond.

 

 

 

Here’s what we would LIKE to happen!!  We would like for the Ghostbusters to hang out in their headquarters, ready to spring into action 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  They could then respond to a call anywhere within the time it takes for Ecto-1 to make the trip.  Who needs a day off when one is fighting evil paranormal spirits?

Part of the Ghostbusters’ recruiting pitch, should they decide to open up their ranks, could include the notion that people cannot legally force the Ghostbusters to act. The Ghostbusters have the freedom to help, or not help, as they choose.

Now as a practical matter, if the Ghostbusters started refusing calls and leaving people to be slimed in parks and crosswalks, then they would likely start losing business and it would be a public relations disaster. However, from a tort law point of view at least, they cannot be forced to act.

On a related side note, a member of the public should also not be able to prevail in a case against the Avengers or any other superhero for failing to swoop in and save them at the last minute for the reasons already discussed.

Indeed, an individual relying upon a civil tort case to force the Ghostbusters to act is likely to end up feeling like this shining example of comic book fan stereotypes.

Have a safe and Happy Halloween everyone!

Toys and Photography: Cameron, Brandon and Steve Chu.

Directed by: Cameron

Ghosts and staging: Brandon and Cameron

For more Lego fun and shenanigans, plus blooper reels, please take a quick look at these two videos:

 

Motion for Declaratory Relief that Tolkien is Better than Martin

Forth Eorlingas!

The gauntlet is thrown, the die is cast.

Oxford don J.R.R. Tolkien has moved the Court for declaratory relief that every erudite lawyer should recognize that Tolkien is better than Martin.

Who dares to challenge his motion?

“Thus he came alone to Angband’s gates, and he sounded his horn, and smote once more upon the brazen doors, and challenged Morgoth to come forth in single combat. And Morgoth came.”

The Silmarillion: Of the Ruin of Beleriand and the Fall of Fingolfin 

Motion for Declaratory Relief

Contact Us to Post Your Opposition or Amicus Brief 

AbbyShot's Eleventh Doctor's Purple Coat