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April Fools’ Day Quiz – Star Trek Court Cases

In honor of April 1st, April Fools’ Day, and actor Leonard Nimoy who played Mr. Spock in Star Trek, we thought it would be fun to challenge our readers with quotes from cases which cited or referenced Star Trek.  Some of these quotes are from real cases and some from cases we concocted.  In fairness to our readers, the real cases are from published decisions including both Federal and administrative reporters.  We will provide you with the answers tomorrow, Thursday, April 2, 2015, including links to the reporters in our collections.

Question No. 1

The term “animate object” has not been judicially limited, as defendant contends, only to toy products which represent a living species of person or animal known on earth. If defendant were correct in its interpretation of “animate,” potential classifications would result in illogical distinctions. Assuming a stuffed toy of Captain Kirk of Star Trek fame was not classifiable as a doll, it would be odd to have such a toy included in a category for animate objects while a similar stuffed toy of a fictional creature from the imaginary planet Vulcan, such as Mr. Spock, would be excluded.

Real Case: YES/NO
Citation?

Question No. 2

The majority decision on this issue establishes a dangerous precedent. Under the majority opinion, employers can now be contractually bound to their employees for any type of statement allegedly made by them that is reported in newspapers. I do not believe the law of contracts, as developed in Anglo-American jurisprudence, permits an employment agreement to be formed based upon unsubstantiated statements printed in a newspaper. Prior to the decision in this case, our employment contract law had gone no farther than to find that “an employee handbook may form the basis of a unilateral contract if there is a definite promise therein by the employer not to discharge covered employees except for specified reasons … The decision in the instant case takes the formation of employment contracts in West Virginia outside the universe of Anglo- American law “to a place where no [reasonable person] has ever gone before.” Star Trek: Episode Introduction monologue.

Real Case: YES/NO
Citation?

Question No. 3

Plaintiffs have outmaneuvered the legal system. They’ve discovered the nexus of antiquated copyright laws, paralyzing social stigma, and unaffordable defense costs. And they exploit this anomaly by accusing individuals of illegally downloading … Then they offer to settle–for a sum calculated to be just below the cost of a bare-bones defense. For these individuals, resistance is futile; …  So now, copyright laws originally designed to compensate starving artists allow, starving attorneys in this electronic-media era to plunder the citizenry …  though Plaintiffs boldly probe the outskirts of law, the only enterprise they resemble is RICO. The federal agency eleven decks up is familiar with their prime directive and will gladly refit them for their next voyage.

Real Case: YES/NO
Citation?

Question No. 4

Several federal agencies indicated that water levels had become so low as to threaten the survival of certain endangered species, including the humpback chub. Biological assessment of the Project’s proposed operations by the Federal agencies determined that the operations threatened the species.  Plaintiffs’ contend that the Federal assessment is so draconian as to constitute a Prime Directive for the humpback chub and bar landowners from any water usage.

Real Case: YES/NO
Citation

Question No. 5

In a phone call the next morning, Lawson informed Dickey the meeting would take place on Wednesday, February 6, near Ophien, Illinois. He gave Dickey specific instructions to get to the meeting place. When Dickey arrived near the site, he was to call Lawson on a CB radio. Lawson said his handle would be Mr. Spock, “just like Star Trek.” Dickey’s was to be Captain Kirk, and the man with him was to be Dr. McCoy.

Real Case: YES/NO
Citation?

Question No. 6

Although the court declines plaintiffs’ invitation to speculate as to whether it is a worse injury for an individual salmon to be cut by sharp metal edges or die on dry land, … , the court will note that in this case the court is most concerned with the survival and recovery of the species, and not the comfort of any individual salmon moving its way up the ladder. Put another way, “logic clearly dictates that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the … one.” Star Trek II; The Wrath of Khan (Paramount Pictures 1982).

Real Case: YES/NO
Citation?

Question No. 7

The Defendants promptly objected to the trial court’s omission. The trial court responded to the omission by stating: How I missed that is beyond me. No, I have to charge that, I agree.” Patient then objected to the charge being given at all to the jury. Patient claimed that the hindsight charge was not proper in a medical malpractice case. Patient stated his objection as:

Your Honor, my problem with the hindsight charge is that basically any records review by a medical expert is a review technically in hindsight which would, in effect, obviate the need for having any medical malpractice law whatsoever because if the patient in a situation with giving medical records to another expert witness to review them, there’s no way for that medical physician to be on the scene in the operating room, or in the emergency room, at the exact time that it happened unless they could go back in time something like on Star Trek.

Real Case: YES/NO
Citation?

Question No. 8

This case is similar to others in which the courts have exercised their jurisdiction to protect a contract right against undue influence by persons not party to it: “One spouse may enjoin a third person from alienating the affection of the other spouse in a proper case” …  However, unlike the inhabitants of the planet Vulcan, our customs do not allow spouses to exchange in combat to enforce marital rights and although we understand the husband’s distress his attempts to physically challenge his wife’s lover cannot be condoned.

Real Case: YES/NO
Citation?

Question No. 9

Finally, it is important to remember that the limitation placed by the legislature on the City’s authority to tax is intended to encourage the growth of manufacturing in this Commonwealth. The courts, in their development of standards for determining whether or not a particular enterprise is engaged in manufacturing, should be concerned with achieving that legislative objective. To that end, the standards must be flexible and the courts must be willing to adapt the standards to comport with rapid technological and scientific progress. As research and development in countless areas produces techniques and processes that may have been hitherto unheard of, we must not rigidly bind ourselves to outmoded concepts. That we cannot physically grasp or feel the product of the broadcaster’s manufacturing process does not mean manufacturing has not taken place. As the “Star Trek” era is ushered into our lives, this Court must be prepared to keep its perspectives progressive and its definitions flexible, or else this Commonwealth will fail to acquire modern, technological manufacturing operations.

Real Case: YES/NO
Citation?

No. 10

Here, [the statute] uses two different terms in subsections (3) and (4) to describe the tolling process: “period of community custody” and “terms of … community custody.” “Period” is not defined in the statute but is defined as a “customary or ordained length of existence.” Webster’s Third New International Dictionary 1680 (2002). 3 “Term[s]” is not defined and has two common definitions: “a limited or definite extent of time” and “propositions, limitations, or provisions stated or offered for the acceptance of another and determining … the nature and scope of the agreement.” Id. at 2358. Since the first meaning of “terms” is synonymous with the definition of “period,” the second definition under the aforementioned rule of statutory interpretation must apply since we presume different words have different meanings … The use of the plural “terms” reinforces this conclusion because if only the temporal length of community custody were at issue, the text would have used the singular “term.” 4 Moreover, what else could be a period of community custody but  the time an offender is in the community and subject to conditions of custody?
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – Footnotes – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

4 That is, of course, unless the offender is subject to community custody in multiple temporal dimensions. See Star Trek: Mirror Mirror (NBC television broadcast Oct. 6, 1967).

Real Case: YES/NO
Citation?

The day we sillybrate / George Yost Coffin, artist

The day we sillybrate / George Yost Coffin, artist

 

One Comment

  1. Jenny
    April 1, 2015 at 3:21 pm

    Why not trials FROM Star Trek?

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