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Firefly & Lessons in Contract Law

28 September 2012

From The Legal Geeks:

Firefly was wickedly creative, well-written and had fantastic humor. Spaceships and wardrobe that ranged from Western to Steampunk to Chinese aside, Firefly presented excellent Contract formation issues.

Contract formation consists of 1) Offer; 2) Acceptance; 3) Consideration; and 4) Performance.

In the world of Firefly, it was often 1) Offer 2) Acceptance 3) Gunfight (also known as breach). Let’s review three episodes to examine these contract issues.

. . . .

Malcolm Reynolds formed an oral contract with a crime boss named Adelei Niska to steal medical supplies from a train. Niska made a payment for the work to be performed, which involves extracting cargo from a fast-moving train with Alliance soldiers onboard.

The heist was a success, with the exception the Captain and Zoe were stuck on the train and ultimately needed to be “rescued” by Inara after being detained in town.

However, once Mal and Zoe reached the destination of the cargo, they learned the medicine was vital for the survival of a mining town where everyone was suffering from the effects of mining.

Mal’s following actions are best described as contract rescission, which is the unwinding of an agreement. Mal decided to return the stolen medicine to the town and the money back to Niska. Granted, since this was an action show, there was a gunfight and someone sucked through a jet intake before Niska’s men accepted the rescission (non-traditional contract remedies were later sought by Niska in War Stories).

. . . .

So let me make this abundantly clear. I do the job and then I get paid.

Captain Malcolm Reynolds

Link to the rest at The Legal Geeks

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8 Comments to “Firefly & Lessons in Contract Law”

  1. Hee. I love Firefly so much. This was a fun take on contract law for people who need a quick explanation.

  2. A show that deserved much more than what it got.

    • Yeah. I was hoping the article was about how Joss Whedon should have negotiated his contract for the show with Fox.

      It was a fun article to read, though.

  3. That was gorram great.

  4. Bwa-ha-ha! “Non-traditional contract remedies were later sought”–ha-ha-ha!

  5. I just loved Firefly. LOVED it. And now I can use it to remember how contracts are supposed to work (are we allowed to shoot publishers?)

    • Well, technically, you’re not ALLOWED to shoot publishers, but one of my criminal law professors always jokingly said shooting someone wasn’t illegal until you got caught.

  6. Ha! Fun way to learn about the law. :)

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