Summary of Parker v. Twentieth Century Fox
S. Ct. CA 1970
Facts: Parker contracted with Fox to star in a musical comedy, for consideration of $750,000.00 spanning 14 weeks of production. Fox repudiated the contract just prior to performance and offered employment in kind under the same pay. This movie would be a western drama, shot in Australia, rather than America.
Issue: Whether secondary offer of employment was sufficient in mitigating damages from breach of contract, and should summary judgment stand?
Holding: No it was not sufficient and summary should stand.
Rule: Summary is granted where facts have been presented which give rise to a triable factual issue that is not in dispute. Measure of recovery is the amount of salary agreed upon, minus the amount employee has earned or would have earned from other employment. Secondary employment offers to mitigate damages cannot be inferior or different from primary offer, and party has to act reasonable in refusing.
Procedure: Trial Ct. granted summary judgment to plaintiff. Affirmed.
Ct. Rationale: No issue of reasonableness of effort by plaintiff to obtain employment were raised. Defendant’s substitute was significantly different and inferior. The secondary role was a western drama in Australia while the initial role was a musical comedy in America. The secondary contract eliminated rights of the plaintiff that were present in the first contract.
Plaintiff: The secondary offer was significantly different and inferior to the initial contract.
Defendant: The difference between the two contracts is minimal, and they are substantially similar, and a jury should decide.