The Legal Entanglements for Superheroes, Supervillians, and Innocents

The Legal Entanglements for Superheroes, Supervillians, and Innocents

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Admit it-if you’re even the slightest bit geeky, you’ve debated the real-world issues of superheroes. How does Spider-Man justify all the time he takes off work? Does Bruce Wayne write the Batcave off as a business expense? Not to mention, where does Superman keep his cape under his Clark Kent suit?

As it turns out, some truly smart geeks have taken this to the next level. “Law and the Multiverse” takes on the complex legal issues superheroes face every day (if they were real). What kind of issues? How about insurance costs? Or the thorny issue of shapeshifters and dual identities? These guys have put some serious amount of thought into the blog, and it shows in their very detailed responses to hypothetical questions. Just check out their analysis of whether certain superpowers qualify as a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act:

Right off the bat we can see that, in general, voluntarily controlled superpowers generally will not qualify as disabilities.  It’s pretty hard for, say, the ability to fly to substantially limit a major life activity if you can simply choose not to use it.  But not all superpowers are voluntary, and whether the power is continuous (like Rogue’s pre-Messiah Complex, involuntary power) or only poorly controlled (like Bruce Banner’s transformation into the Hulk) doesn’t matter because an episodic impairment still counts.

Rogue’s original, involuntary, lethal power probably qualifies because touching others seems like a major life activity.  Certainly it is a common part of communication and many jobs (e.g., handshakes, receiving money from customers and returning change).  Bruce Banner’s power definitely qualifies as it also frequently interferes with work and communication (“Hulk smash!”).  Scott Summers’s power may also qualify.  A slightly less serious example along the same lines is Moist from Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog.

Although Hank McCoy’s and Kurt Wagner’s physical appearances might not be considered outright disabilities, they may be discriminated against because they are perceived as being impaired, which fits 12102(C).

That’s a level of detail that you just don’t see in most superhero discussions these days.

Actually, some of the discussion, like the insurance one, reminds me of The Incredibles. If Mr. Incredible had retained the services of the “Law and the Multiverse” guys, maybe he wouldn’t have had to go into hiding! Plus, if lawyers can service vampires, they should definitely be servicing superheroes!

Via The New York Times

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About the Author

Zek has been a gadget fiend for a long time, going back to their first PDA (a Palm M100). They quickly went from researching what PDA to buy to following tech news closely and keeping up with the latest and greatest stuff. They love writing about ebooks because they combine their two favorite activities; reading anything and everything, and talking about fun new tech toys. What could be better?