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Maybe the show's directors got a little bored, or maybe it was the laryngitis medicine Alicia Florrick was taking that made last night's "The Good Wife" so trippy. Either way, we were lucky to get an hour-long peek into the lead character's head and a glimpse at her thought process as she makes her biggest life, career, and legal decisions.
Here's what you need to know from last night's episode, entitled "Mind's Eye":
Stricken with a raspy voice and ordered to stay home and prepare for an endorsement interview, Alicia nonetheless has quite a bit on her plate and stays her usual busy self. What's unique about "Mind's Eye" is that it is set largely in Alicia's head, as she mentally plays out several "what if" arguments in her head, cast by the characters that would be making those points in real life.
Most of these scenarios center around her interview and how to dodge some sensitive questions, but her imagination is also responding to a new lawsuit from Michael J. Fox's Louis Canning, this time over his alleged wrongful eviction from the offices of Florrick, Agos and Lockhart.
The big legal question comes from Canning's impending lawsuit regarding his eviction from the offices that would become home to Alicia's firm. Canning asks for a $4 million settlement, but Alicia tries to figure out if they did anything wrong in the first place.
Much of the debate occurs in Alicia's imagined pre-trial deposition of Canning, where she mentally walks through the arguments and counterarguments concerning the eviction. While there are some esoteric references to who evicted Canning and whether they were acting as the firm's proxy during the eviction, the basic legal issue seems to be whether Florrick, Agos and Lockhart violated the terms of Canning's lease by forcing his removal.
Another side issue to the eviction lawsuit is whether there was a pre-existing oral agreement, with Canning contending that an oral agreement is "only valid if both parties understand the terms." This isn't entirely true for two reasons, explained below.
First, the statement on its face is misleading because an oral contract could be enforceable even if one party misunderstands the terms, if that misunderstanding is unreasonable under the circumstances. Second, the Statute of Frauds is a law that requires certain types of contracts to be in writing, or they are unenforceable. This includes contracts for real estate, like Canning's office lease. Therefore, if Canning's lease wasn't in writing, it is entirely unenforceable.
Damages: In trying to determine if they should settle, Alicia, Cary, and Diane talk a lot about Canning's damages. In the broad sense, legal damages refer to the economic and personal harm a party suffers and the monetary compensation awarded by a court to cover that harm. The issue here would be how much financial harm Canning suffered because of his eviction, which would probably come down to whether he actually lost that big client because of his lack of office space.
While this episode was heavy on Alicia's mental gymnastics, it was light on the legal jiu jijtsu. Maybe next week we'll find out whether the wiretap recording of Lamont Bishop allegedly proclaiming he had bought the next state's attorney was legal or not.
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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