'The Good Wife': Good Law? - Season 5, Episode 6
"The Good Wife" is back after Alicia's stunning -- but expected -- departure from Lockhart & Gardner. The latest episode highlights issues surrounding former client obligations and manufacturing defects.
Prepare to be gun shy with this rundown of "The Next Day":
Episode Recap (Spoiler Alert!):
"The Next Day" starts as many one-night stands do, with multiple characters waking up disoriented in their beds. Will wakes up to a scantily clad woman, Diane wakes up to anxiety and disappointment, and Alicia wakes up... late.
Lockhart & Gardner battles with Florrick, Agos & Associates over the files to a gun manufacturing defect case, with Diane's new hubby providing key evidence that could win the case. But then the client -- who dumps Lockhart & Gardner for Alicia's firm at the beginning of the episode -- changes her mind, re-hires Lockhart & Gardner, and fires Alicia -- with Diane getting the last laugh.
"The Next Day" delved into the ethical complications that arise whenever a client wants to switch attorneys. Lockhart & Gardner is hardly the first law firm to be antagonistic or stingy about sending over a former client's files. Waiting on files that the client is legally entitled to is a source of great frustration for many attorneys.
Will argued before the ethics board that all of the material redacted from the client's file (and then sent to Florrick, Agos & Associates) was attorney work product, and thus the client was not entitled to it. This is generally false. Clients are typically entitled to the entirety of their client file, including notes about strategy and observations made by attorneys in preparation for the case -- including independent contractor work like Kalinda's.
This area of legal ethics isn't entirely black and white, but the Illinois State Bar considered a similar issue and advised that law firms like Lockhart & Gardner could even be required to send entire electronic client files to former clients -- with a few keystrokes as Alicia mentioned -- when requested.
Client files aside, there were some legal facts about manufacturing defects mentioned in this week's episode, including:
- Factual determinations in criminal trials are good evidence in criminal court (but only with a conviction).
- A gun manufacturer can be sued for injuries caused by a gun's discharge, if the injury was a foreseeable risk of the gun's use.
Breach of warranty. The last-minute change in strategy is to claim the hair-trigger was a breach of the warranty offered by the gun manufacturer, including a "warranty" that the product was safe and marketable.
Another episode with little legal meat and mostly chock full of Ms. Garbanzo puking into Alicia's toilet. Tune in next week as Will and Diane throw their weight around to make life crappy for the Florricks.
What did you think of this week's episode of "The Good Wife"? Is the show guilty of making any legal mistakes? Check back here for more legal recaps of "The Good Wife," and send us a tweet at @FindLawConsumer with the hashtag #TheGoodWife.
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