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Goudal v. Cecil B. Demille Pictures Corp.
Terms in this set (5)
Hornbook contract law requires that a breach be material before the contract can be terminated. Among the relevant factors are:
1. the extent to which the non-breaching party is deprived of a benefit reasonably expected under the contract
2. Whether the non-breaching party will be adequately compensated for the loss through a damage award
3. the degree to which the performer has partially performed obligation under the contract
4. Willfulness of the breach
Under California Labor Code Section 2924, an employer can fire an employee at any time for willful breach or "in the case of his habitual neglect of his duty or continued incapacity to perform..."
-Performer can be discharged of contract if performer breached contract by refusal or failure to perform the conditions of the contract employment such as we have here.
-There must be, on the part of the actress, a willful act or willful misconduct...a condition which is absent when the actress uses her best efforts to give an artistic performance and to serve the interests of her employer.
-Suggestions and even objections as to the manner of enacting the various scenes, when made in good faith, were in the interest of the employer; in fact, it appears from the testimony that they were welcomed and encouraged in many instances, and prior to commencing work, the president off appellant informed respondent that he did not want manikins to work for him, that he wanted thinking people, and that, if she would explain to him why she wanted to do a thing in a particular way, he would appreciate it.
-There is in the case at bar no willful tardiness nor invalid excuse for absences, the instances of tardiness here being covered by the general description in that those delays were occasioned by the requirements of the scenes to be enacted on the particular days, delays while respondent was actually engaged in performing her employment business.
-By the very wording of the contract "it is agreed that the services of the artist herein provided for are of a special, unique, unusual, extraordinary and intellectual character."
The court rejected the argument that Goudal's recovery should be limited because she failed to mitigate damages by seeking other employment, and instead awarded Goudal damages equal to the contract price.
Creative Control (FYI)
making determinations about contract breaches is somewhat easier where the dispute does not involve questions of creative control
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