The Santa Clause


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From the Law Offices of  Pimberton and Marlowe, PC

December 26, 2006

Mr. Kris Kringle
Chairman and CEO
St. Nicholas Enterprises, LLC
The North Pole

Dear Mr. Kringle,

As a senior partner here at Pimberton and Marlowe I’m writing to you as a follow-up to our pre-Christmas correspondence and our firm’s subsequent research.

First though, let me thank you for your prompt and thoughtful advice regarding that personal issue we discussed last week. You were right, the keys to a silver BMW 335i Coupe under the tree for my wife did indeed make up for my regrettable lapse of judgment at the firm’s Christmas party.

But down to business. Just as you suspected, our research team has found that there does exist a substantial loophole in your contract’s current Naughty/Nice Determination Guidelines. To be specific, the exact language of Section 2, Subparagraph 3 is as follows:

2.3 Naughty/Nice Determinations shall be applied during one calendar year running from 12:00 AM on January 1 through 11:59 PM on December 31 of that same year.

And later, in Section 17, Subparagraph 9 the contract states:

17.9 Punishment for any of the above-described Naughty infractions shall be exacted on Christmas morning, December 25, of the calendar year during which said infractions were committed, specific punishment to be determined according to the following sentencing guidelines...

As you suspected, these two statements combine to form what we here at Pimberton and Marlowe like to call the “Santa Clause” (just a little seasonal lawyer humor there – ha, ha) which says in effect that all naughty behavior taking place during a calendar year is dealt with on December 25 of that year, while “new and actionable” naughty behavior only begins to accrue on January 1 of the following year. Thus the contract creates a sort of “free week” during which naughtiness cannot be punished.

So yes Kris, there is a “Santa Clause” (hee, hee, hee, ho, ho - oh my!). Sorry.

As to your proposal suggesting how this situation might be rectified, every member of your legal team feels that your legal position on this idea would be tenuous at best. We admit that there is logic and even a certain appeal to the idea of dispatching teams of elves to selectively “repossess” Christmas gifts on the day after New Year, based on Naughty/Nice data collected during the week in question. And we even like your proposed name for the new holiday: “Looting Day.”

However, we see several potential difficulties with this idea, not the least of which is the statutory matter of “Breaking and Entering.” While we have in the past always  been successful in defending you against B&E charges (141 times so far – it just doesn’t seem possible, does it?), we have always done so on the basis that your activities could not be construed as burglary since you were leaving, not taking things.

Additionally, and as you are well aware, we are already on constitutional thin ice with that whole “He sees you when you’re sleeping” issue. With that class-action Invasion of Privacy lawsuit pending, the idea of specifically adding a week of surveillance to your current activities would be ill-advised at best.

And so as your legal advisors, we must recommend that you pursue no immediate action regarding the “Santa Clause.” Your overall Performance Agreement comes up for review in two years, and we feel that we may be able to contractually remedy the situation at that time. In other words, for now you should just take the week off and enjoy it.

I know I’m going to.

As always, we here at Pimberton and Marlowe are honored that you have selected our firm to represent your interests.

Sincerely,

Kevin Pimberton
Senior Partner

Copyright © 2006 Michael Ball