Prof. Robert Emerson and friends tell the story of the Pied Piper.
REMEDIES FOR BREACH: OUR CONTRACTS SKIT
- THE TALE OF THE PIED PIPER
a. Was There a Contract Between the Village and the Piper? Yes.
b. What Defenses to a Contract Claim Could the Village Assert? Would the Village Win?
(1) Over $500, under the Statute of Frauds?
(a) Was it a service?
(b) Are rats goods?
(c) A UCC in Medieval Europe?
-Who created the problem?
-Were the contract terms grossly unfair?
(4) Is it against public policy?
-Cruelty to Animals?
A society that likes rats or life generally may value that life so strongly that it extends rights to those living things. May one go beyond small gnawing rodents to other living things, such as trees? Do they have rights?
(5) Impossibility? "A mighty fiscal deficit lay over the land."
c. Shotgun Approach: Make all arguments that don't cause you to turn "beet-red." Shoot lots of pellets in hopes something hits the target.
-But do too many seemingly spurious claims sully the claimant's other, better claims?
d. Assuming that there was a lawful agreement, what are the Piper's Remedies for a breach? (The law recognizes human nature)
But often lawsuits are costly and unsatisfying (e.g., besides possibly losing the suit, one can lose reputation-suffer a poor image)- it is better to get money upfront.
(2) Self-Help (Cover, Set-Off)
Set-off is deducting the amount the other side owes to you from what you owe it.
(3) But cannot go overboard re: remedies - was the Piper's solution a lawful response to the town's breach?
e. Just as matters of heart are not generally matters for contract law, so, when there is a breach of contract, it is not viewed as a moral concern. Not bad, Not wrong: Businesses make choices. Sometimes they choose to breach. But they must then "Pay the Piper."