'The Good Wife': Good Law? -- Season 7, Episode 8
It's the Planned Parenthood sting video episode, and everyone is losing their minds. Louis Canning is trying to poach Lucca Quinn. Alicia and Lucca are trying to poach Canning's clients. Grace is poaching Lockhart, Agos and Lee clients while Diane is zealously advocating for a pro-life organization. Jason Crouse is investigating everyone for everybody and Eli is moving in on billionaire Courtney Page.
It's dogs and cats, living together -- mass hysteria. Here's what you need to know from last night's episode, entitled "Restraint."
Episode Recap (Spoiler Alert):
Louis Canning had been tossing Alicia and Lucca clients, but now he's offering Lucca a job. Lucca thinks she's bait to lure Alicia to Canning's firm, so she and Alicia use the intel to try and flip clients to their financially shaky firm. Unbeknownst to them, Grace is working behind the scenes luring some larger fish who are fleeing Diane and Cary due to their representation of a pro-life organization trying to publish a video accusing an abortion clinic of selling fetal tissue.
It's the cut-throat Chicago legal market at its cut-throatiest and it's setting the three firms up for quite the showdown.
At the same time, Eli appears to be doing his same political tango with Paige, until his romantic intentions are revealed, adding one more love story to the season. But with Jason Crouse moonlighting for Lockhart, Agos and Lee, is his relationship with Alicia faltering?
Diane has her reservations about representing Irving Carter's pro-life group, but takes the sting video case on First Amendment grounds. In this case, a judge ordered an injunction to keep the video from being published in the first place. Diane recognizes this as prior restraint -- prohibiting the publication of information before it is published -- which courts are generally loath to do outside of "exceptional cases." The only way it works in this case is due to a signed non-disclosure agreement.
But, like anything involving abortion, the seemingly simple free speech case has deeper meanings and causes more friction than expected. Diane realizes that her other clients are as sympathetic to her cause and uncovers the judge's political bias as well.
Earlier this year, the CEO of a credit-card-payment processing company took a huge pay cut to give all of his employees a $70,000 minimum wage. The show's resident billionaire, Courtney Paige, decides to the same, although we doubt she's taking the same salary hit. Fearing this will not reflect will on Peter's presidential campaign, Eli asks Alicia to warn Paige about the legal ramifications of the plan.
But, as the episode points out, there really aren't that many. As long as they meet the mandatory minimum wage, employers are generally free to pay their employees whatever they want. Paige is right to be concerned with a shareholder lawsuit, but only if increased wages equal a dip in stock price for the company. And Paige is right to point out that offering her employees unlimited vacation time will probably mean they'll take less time off.
"She's our whistleblower": A whistleblower is normally an employee who discloses mismanagement, illegal activity, or some other wrongdoing on the part of his or her employer. There are legal protections for whistleblowers, and employers cannot retaliate against employees that come forward with complaints. In this case, however, Diane (ineffectively) tries to shoehorn whistleblower protections into free speech protections.
Despite the episode's title, not many of its characters showed a whole lot of restraint this week. And now that the gloves are off when it comes to stealing clients, it feels like we're in for a legal title fight over the next few episodes. Alicia and Lucca are the underdogs in this one, so we'll see if their bite matches their bark.
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.
- Freedom of Speech (FindLaw's LawBrain)
- Whistleblower Protections in Qui Tam Actions (FindLaw)
- Ill. Legislature Passes New Eavesdropping Law (FindLaw's U.S. Seventh Circuit Blog)
- Is My Business Required to Offer Vacation Time to Employees? (FindLaw's Free Enterprise)
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