star wars lawsuits

They say that lawyers ruin everything, so why not the Star Wars universe too? If there were lawyers looking for clients a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, they would find lots of litigious possibilities in the three Star Wars movies (disregard the prequels).

My friend Phil Vincent and I started this list years ago when we were in law school. It’s been hanging around, surviving like a virus from one computer to another, for more than 15 years. Without further ado, the court is now in session!

1. SKYWALKER v. VADER (I): Luke sues Darth Vader for years of unpaid child support.

2. ORGANA v. VADER: Same, with Leia as plaintiff.

3. SKYWALKER v. VADER (II): Luke sues Darth Vader for damages for assault and battery, including the loss of his hand.

4. SKYWALKER v. ESTATE OF YODA: On the basis of Yoda’s dying words (“No more training do you require”), Luke sues Yoda’s estate for bilking him inflated fees for Jedi training. (If Yoda was willing to admit on his deathbed that Luke needed no more training despite his previous insistence that the training was incomplete, who’s to say the training Luke actually did receive wasn’t artificially strung out?)

5. SKYWALKER v. ESTATE OF KENOBI: Luke sues Ben Kenobi for IIED (Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress) from lying to him that Vader wasn’t his father.

6. ORGANA v. ESTATE OF KENOBI: Same, with Leia as plaintiff, except her case alleges that Ben had a duty to disclose her true parentage once he realized she was still alive (after seeing R2-D2’s hologram).

7. ESTATE OF LARS AND BERU v. SKYWALKER: The heirs of Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru sue Luke, claiming he was negligent in not returning to the moisture farm to rescue them once he knew they were in danger of being killed by stormtroopers.

8. CALRISSIAN v. SOLO: Lando sues Han Solo, claiming the Millennium Falcon is legally his. Han defends on the basis of his statement, “You lost her to me fair and square.” The case hinges on whether the Falcon could legally have been used to settle a gambling debt, which hinges upon the question of whether gambling was legal on the planet where the bet was made.

9. CALRISSIAN v. VADER: Lando sues Darth Vader for breach of contract regarding the Cloud City bargain. Lando figures he has a slam dunk case on the basis of Vader’s admission, “I am altering the deal. Pray I don’t alter it any further.” Cloud City Headphones Guy is the star witness in this case.

10. GALACTIC EMPIRE v. DEATH STAR CONSTRUCTION ASSOCIATES, INC.: The Empire sues the contractors who built the Death Star, claiming negligence in allowing its design to be so easily penetrated by Rebel fighters. The contractors defend on the theory that the Rebels’ attack was unforeseeable. The case hinges on whether the Empire’s insurance company paid claims on the destroyed Death Star, or ruled that its destruction was “an act of God.”

11. REBEL ALLIANCE v. THE PROTON TORPEDO COMPANY, INC.: The Alliance sues the manufacturer of the “proton torpedoes” used at the end of the first movie, claiming products liability. Remember the ones that “didn’t go in–it just impacted on the surface”?

12. ESTATE OF PORKINS v. REBEL ALLIANCE: The survivors of Porkins, the pilot who got blown up at the end of the first movie, sues the Alliance, claiming their battle plan was negligent in allowing him to be killed so easily.

13. ESTATE OF KENOBI v. SKYWALKER: Ben Kenobi’s estate sues Luke, claiming he had a duty to rescue him from the Death Star during the lightsaber battle with Darth Vader. Luke defends on the basis of Kenobi’s telepathic statement, “Run, Luke, run!” which he alleges absolved him of any duty to ascertain Ben’s safety.

14. R2D2 v. C3PO: R2D2 sues C3PO for various physical assaults and and endless pattern of emotional and verbal abuse over the course of three movies.

15. C3PO v. CHEWBACCA: C3PO sues Chewie for negligently putting him back together during the second movie. Chewie defends on the theory that droids have no standing to sue.

16. ESTATE OF HUTT v. SOLO: Jabba’s estate makes another attempt to collect the debts owed by Han Solo for “dropping his shipment” before the first movie.

17. ESTATE OF HUTT v. REBEL ALLIANCE: Jabba’s survivors also sue the Rebels, hoping to attach Han’s reward for rescuing Princess Leia as payment for Jabba’s debt.

18. ORGANA v. ESTATE OF HUTT: Leia sues the Jabba organization, claiming sexual harassment in the workplace as a result of having to wear a cast-iron bikini around Jabba’s palace.

19. ESTATE OF FETT v. ESTATE OF HUTT: The survivors of Boba Fett claim back pay and worker’s comp for Boba’s death while working for Jabba. Jabba’s estate defends claiming the assault by Han Solo (throwing Boba Fett off the sail barge) is an “intervening event” that “breaks the chain of causation.”

20. REBEL ALLIANCE v. SKYWALKER: The Rebels sue Luke for the value of all the ships he crashed and blew up of theirs over the course of three movies. Realizing the Rebels have a slam dunk case, Luke’s insurance company hastily agrees to settle out of court.

21. ANTILLES v. SKYWALKER: Wedge Antilles, the previous owner of C3PO and R2D2, sues Luke for return of the droids, claiming they are still his property and the sale of them by the Jawas was legally invalid (because they were stolen property).

22. CHEWBACCA v. REBEL ALLIANCE: Chewie sues the Rebels for discrimination because he was not given a medal at the end of the first movie.

23. SOLO v. CALRISSIAN: Han sues Lando for damage to the Millenium Falcon done during the third film, especially the radar dish. Han has a slam-dunk case because Lando promised “she won’t get a scratch.”

24. SOLO v. HYPERDRIVE MANUFACTURERS, LTD.: Han sues the manufacturer of the faulty hyperdrive on the Millenium Falcon for breaking down so often. Products liability.

25. VADER v. SKYWALKER: Darth Vader sues Luke for removing his mask at the end of the third movie, knowing it would lead to his death. Luke defends claiming Darth Vader told him to do it, or alternately that he was inevitably going to die anyway.

26. CHOKED IMPERIAL LACKEYS v. VADER: Class-action lawsuit. All the Imperial lackeys force-choked by Vader, including Captain Needa, sue for worker’s comp, abuse and various other torts.

27. ALDERAAN SURVIVORS v. ORGANA: Friends and survivors of the people killed on Alderaan sue Princess Leia, claiming she had a duty to warn them that the Death Star was coming to destroy them.

28. DEATH STAR SURVIVORS v. ESTATE OF TARKIN: Survivors of those killed on the first Death Star sue Grand Moff Tarkin for negligence in failure to recognize the threat of the Rebels’ attack plan. (Remember how he said, “I think you overestimate their chances”?)

29. ESTATE OF GREEDO v. SOLO: Greedo’s survivors sue Han Solo for killing him in the cantina. This case is difficult because there is evidently some dispute as to who shot first.

30. TATTOINE CANTINA v. SOLO: The cantina sues Han Solo for damage at the bar, claiming the coin he flipped the bartender (“Sorry about the mess”) was totally insufficient. The cantina’s insurance company tries to settle out of court.

31. C3PO v. TATTOINE CANTINA: The droids sue the cantina for discrimination, claiming they were illegally barred from entering. (“We don’t serve their kind here!”)

32. GALACTIC EMPIRE v. ESTATE OF KENOBI: The Empire sues Ben’s estate for fraud in telling them, “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.”

33. EWOK VILLAGE v. C3PO: The Ewoks sue C3PO for fraudulently pretending to be their god, even though he was aware it was “against his programming to impersonate a deity.” Han Solo is the star witness.

34. SKYWALKER, ORGANA, SOLO, R2D2 AND C3PO v. CHEWBACCA: Everyone caught in the Ewok trap net sues Chewbacca, who negligently triggered it by reaching for the food set out as bait. (“Always thinking with your stomach!”)

35. SOLO v. ORGANA: Han sues Princess Leia, claiming she negligently failed to rescue him from Boba Fett in the second movie.

36. CALRISSIAN v. CHEWBACCA: Lando sues Chewie for choking him in the second movie.

37. ORGANA v. JAWA NATION: Princess Leia sues the Jawas for illegally converting (stealing) R2D2 and trying to sell him. Leia claims the droids were still technically her property when they landed on Tattooine. Wedge Antilles, who claims he is still the droids’ rightful owner, files a motion to intervene as a party plaintiff. The Jawas’ insurance company files for interpleader. Leia’s and Wedge’s lawyers ultimately sue for declaratory judgment regarding whose property the droids really are.

38. SKYWALKER v. JAWA NATION: Learning that R2D2 was technically Leia’s property, Luke, as successor of Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru, sues the Jawas for trying to sell him stolen goods.

39. GALACTIC EMPIRE v. GALACTIC TRUTH SERUM MFG., INC.: Darth Vader and the Empire sue the drug company that manufactured the truth serum used unsuccessfully to get Princess Leia to disclose the location of the rebel base in the first movie. (“I told you she would never consciously betray the rebellion.”)

40. VADER v. GALACTIC EMPIRE: Darth Vader sues his employers, the Galactic Empire, for religious discrimination in the workplace, on the basis of the imperial lackeys’ contempt for the Force. (“Your sad devotion to that ancient religion has not helped you conjure up the stolen data tapes!”)

41. VADER v. ESTATE OF YODA: Darth Vader sues the estate of Yoda on the basis of his injuries sustained in the lightsaber battle with Luke at the end of the second movie. He claims Yoda was negligent in preventing Luke from running off to try to do battle with him and had an “in loco parentis” responsibility to control Luke’s actions. Yoda defends on the theory that his contractual obligation to control Luke was broken by Luke’s decision to leave Dagobah to rescue Han and Leia. Vader files to add an additional claim that Yoda’s training was grossly negligent (it was Yoda’s visions of the future that caused Luke to run off in the first place).

42. BESPIN GAS MINERS LOCAL NO. 140 v. CALRISSIAN: The gas miners of Cloud City sue Lando Calrissian for unfair labor practices. Remember how Lando admitted “I’ve had labor difficulties”?

The image of the stormtrooper doll is by Flickr user JD Hancock and is used/relicensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 license.