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September 15, 2010

Vampire Legal Issues: "The Return"

TV: The Vampire Diaries

Welcome to the second edition of Vampire Legal Issues! Wondering how vamping will affect your ability to take advantage of the Lockwoods' open bar? Read on.

Christine: What a delightful episode! Is it wrong that I now sort of love Katherine’s fraudulent little self? Sort of like I love Scarlett O’Hara, which you might too, if you’d ever read Gone with the Wind? *cough* Also, I CAN’T BELIEVE DAMON DID THAT.

Katie: *ignoring that* This episode had a lot of new invite stuff. I was wondering how things work as far as intention? Tyler invited Katherine in thinking she was Elena, but apparently that doesn’t matter.

Christine: I wondered the same thing. He said “Elena, come in” and clearly did not intend to invite Elena’s Evil Doppelganger into the family manse. The same with Aunt Jenna, in last season’s finale. Does mistaken identity not matter? Why can Invite Magic not suss out the intent of the person doing the inviting? I was thinking vaguely of mortgages, and how you can't use false statements to induce someone to sign a mortgage or other contract, but Katherine was just coming in for Hey-the-Mayor's-Dead! Cocktail Hour, not buying property or otherwise entering into a contract with Tyler. Certainly if Katherine fraudulently induced Tyler to sign a contract by telling him she was Elena, the contract would be voidable. Or void. (It depends on jurisdiction and type of contract.)

Katie: Do written invitations ever work? What if you get an invitation to a birthday party? What if you tack a note to your door that says "Damon, please come in"?

Christine: I would never tack a note inviting Damon in to my door. You never know what the moody little beast will be up to, do you? When Tyler invited Katherine-as-Elena into the Lockwood house, he was standing outside (also, he said “come in,” not “go in,” which means either that vampire law is highly formalistic or that the accident has induced predicate confusion on his part). So clearly you don’t need to be in the house to invite someone in, as long as you have the right to issue an invite. I suppose written notes would work as well, or phone calls.

Katie: I think you're reading too much into "come in" vs. "go in." Tyler is standing outside his house welcoming people, so I think it's natural to say "come in." Also, I'm not convinced that linguistic precision is one of Tyler's strong suits even on his best days. Anything else?

Christine: The other thing I was wondering- Katherine told Snark, in the kitchen, that Jenna had to go talk to the firemen about the fire in the office building. But we know that John is trustee of the estate, because Pearl would have needed his permission to purchase the building. So what does Jenna have to do with it? What is the division of control of property and kids? Is Jenna guardian of the kids, and both Jenna and John are trustees of the estate? I suppose that's possible, though John made it seem like he was the only trustee. And of course the Gilberts' property could have been broken down into more than one separately controlled trust. Inquiring minds want to know, Show.

Katie: Yup, THAT's the mystery that fans are just clamoring to have cleared up, Christine. Hey, are we assuming that Elena's not 18 yet? (I think she's 16, but I'm not positive.) If she were, she'd have to be consulted about the buildings and such, right? Does John have some diabolical plan he's trying to carry out before she comes of age? Anyway, the promos for the next episode suggest that we will see Damon and Stefan at home, and I'm looking forward to it, because their house is pretty. Well, and also because I can use it as an excuse to ask about vampire property ownership and drive Christine back into the arms of her property law textbooks. See you then!

Posted by Kat at September 15, 2010 05:00 PM

I think that Katherine was as surprised that it worked as you were because she didn't walk right in she took it slow. I don't think she thought it would work. I also think that the reason the fire department called Jenna because they are used to having her in town, John has been gone for a while and creeping around town when he was there.

Posted by: Megan at September 15, 2010 07:11 PM

Just reading back through these and Tyler's predicate confusion just made my whole day. Awesomeness, so thanks for that! :D

Posted by: skittledog at October 7, 2010 05:24 PM
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