Shared June 20, 2019
A carjacking gone wrong. A Good Samaritan law. Jerry does nothing. JAIL FOR YOU.
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After nine seasons, Seinfeld ended with an insane court case involving a law that seems impossible: a good Samaritan law that punishes you for doing nothing. If there is one thing that Jerry, Elaine, George, and Kramer are good at, it’s doing nothing.
After George and Jerry land a production deal with NBC, the four head out for Paris on NBC's private plane and are waylaid in a small Massachusetts town. They witness a carjacking and instead of helping, they just make fat jokes and video record it. The town sheriff then arrests them under a municipal ordinance that makes failing to help a criminal offense. They call it a “Good Samaritan Law”.
At the ensuing trial, the district attorney (who you might remember from My Cousin Vinny - https://youtu.be/a1I7QBCHqng ) brings out a parade of character witnesses to testify against everyone; apparently they have a history of bad acts (over nine seasons).
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I get asked a lot about whether being a practicing attorney is like being a lawyer on TV. I love watching legal movies and courtroom dramas. It's one of the reasons I decided to become a lawyer. But sometimes they make me want to pull my hair out because they are ridiculous.
Today I'm taking a break from representing clients and teaching law students how to kick ass in law school to take on lawyers in the movies and on TV. While all legal movies and shows take dramatic license to make things more interesting (nobody wants to see hundreds of hours of brief writing), many of them have a grain of truth.
This is part of a continuing series of "Lawyer Reaction" videos. Got a legal movie or TV show you'd like me to critique? Let me know in the comments!
All clips used for fair use commentary, criticism, and educational purposes. See Hosseinzadeh v. Klein, 276 F.Supp.3d 34 (S.D.N.Y. 2017); Equals Three, LLC v. Jukin Media, Inc., 139 F. Supp. 3d 1094 (C.D. Cal. 2015).
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