Lumley v. Wagner Case Brief

Summary of Lumley v. Wagner
Lord Chancellor’s Ct. ENG 1852

Facts: A singer Johanna Wagner, Df, entered into a simple contract to perform at Her Majesty’s Theatre, for a period of three months, covering a certain number of nights and nowhere else during that period.

Issue: Whether a court of equity ought to grant an injunction ordering specific performance of the defendant to sing at Her Majesty’s Theater and nowhere else?

Holding: Yes

Procedure: Lord Chancellor Leonards determined jurisdiction and issued an injunction compelling Df to abstain from singing elsewhere.

Rule: An injunction compelling specific performance shall issue to a true and literal performance of their agreements.

Ct. Rationale: The court cannot compel the Df to sing, but the court can issue an injunction barring her to abstain from the commission of an act which she has bound herself not to do. The K states she is to refrain from singing elsewhere during the period in question. If she attempts to do so she will have broken the spirit and meaning of the contract.

PL A: The Df has bound herself to fulfill an engagement at Her Majesty’s Theater by a contract, and to not perform elsewhere.

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