Thursday, June 14, 2012
The Big Bang Theory, CBS's critical and commercial success, also is a Contracts professor's dream. This is due to the show's frequent references to "The Roommate Agreement" between the two main characters, Sheldon and Leonard. I previously blogged about using the show to illustrate anticipatory repudiation and contractual interpretation. I am now back with another clip, this time to illustrate duress and possible lack of consideration for an agreement modification. In this latest clip, Sheldon gets Leonard to agree to modify the roommate agreement by threatening to notify Leonard's girlfriend's parents about their relationship. The threat has meaning because the girlfriend, Priya, believes her parents in India would not approve of her relationship with the non-Indian Leonard. I'm not sure, however, if the threat is "wrongful" in the traditional duress scenario. The clip also features two key Star Trek references for all the Trekkies out there (someone should do a study, illustrated via Venn diagram, on the overlap between the "law professor" and "Trekkie" categories--I predict significant overlap). I hope to use the clip as a supplement the traditional duress cases of Loral and Totem Marine. Given that Sheldon appears not to give Leonard anything in exchange for the modification, it also could be used in the pre-existing legal duty rule context.
[Heidi R. Anderson]