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Sunday, March 07, 2004

To: Dick Wolf, Re: Law & Order plot suggestion

The police homicide detectives respond to a call at an executive office of a large financial and investment company to find that a young executive has apparently been bludgeoned to death. Detectives arrive to find the executives body in his office cruelly distorted by the pounding and blood stains everywhere. Secretaries and others recall no significant traffic in the office except for one of the executives regular clients whom they identify to the police.

Later, the police trace the lead but receive no real information to go on from the client. They receive a call to return to the ME's lab. There they are startled to find out that the stains from the office are not from blood but from hydrulic fluid. Even more striking is the discovery that the victem is not dead after all. On the basis of pre-arranged instructions, specialists had arrived to reconstruct the young executive in full working order. The ME tells the police that examining the patient was like examining an extremely sophisticated clockworks coated with fluid in a vinyl polymere skin. It turns out that the young executive was always a Hobbesian automaton, mingling with society and prospering in a successful firm.

The executive reveals to the police that it was indeed that client who came into that office and beat him. But he did not scream or call out for help because he knew he was not truly in danger. The client and he were formally good friends as well as buisness partners for many years. They had just arranged a mutally profitable deal that was begining to pay a huge dividend when the client discovered that his close friend and associate was really an automaton. The client was very upset by this and felt terribly betrayed. His aggravation drove him to destroy him in a rage. The executive is willing to drop the charges for the sake of former friendship but he wants assurance that the client will still honor their deal contract. The client confirms the story but refuses to honor the contract and the case is processed through the DA's office.

The executive is suing the client for breach of contract. The client's defense is that there was no original contract since one of the ostensive parties was not a person and thus not in a position to form contracts. The court must decide the case on the merits of the client's argument. What does the court decide?

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