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Valparaiso Univ. Law School

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Monday, November 14, 2005

Jabba the Hutt on Contracts

Intergalactic criminal Jabba the Hutt, the huge slug-like villain from Star Wars, had his own unique philosophy of contract remedies.  Jabba’s former employee, Han Solo, was smuggling spices for Jabba’s operation.  To save himself from capture, Han Solo had to dump the spices.  But then Han made a big mistake: he never made restitution to Jabba for the lost value of the cargo.   

     HAN:  Hey, Jabba. Look, Jabba, I was just on my way to pay you back, but I got a little sidetracked. It's not my fault.

     [Jabba laughs]
     JABBA [in Huttese subtitled]:  It's too late for that, Solo. You may have been a good smuggler, but now you're Bantha fodder.
     HAN:  Look . . .
     JABBA [cont. Huttese subtitled]:  Take him away!
     [The guards grab Han and start to lead him away.]
     HAN:  Jabba... I'll pay you triple! You're throwing away a fortune here. Don't be a fool!

Of course, the contract between Han and Jabba is per se void as against public policy, as it involves illegal activity.  But Jabba rebuffs any attempt by Han simply to make restitution by paying him off.  One could, of course, argue that Jabba the Hutt is not a rational economic actor.  Perhaps the better explanation is that Jabba has a certain reputation to uphold in the criminal underworld of his home planet.  If you enter into a contract with Jabba, you had better be prepared to stick by it.  [Hat-Tip: Scott Perlman]

[Miriam Cherry]

[Add -- Frank Snyder:  Jabba probably knows that Han's offer to pay triple won't be enforceable.]

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