Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Duff v. Russell case brief

Duff v. Russell case brief summary
14 N.Y.S. 134 (1891)

Plaintiff, a theatrical and operatic manager, brought an action to restrain defendant singer from appearing as a singer or actress at a theater during the period of her contract with the manager. After a preliminary injunction was granted, he filed a motion for the continuance of the injunction during the pendency of the action.

The singer contracted with the manager to appear in his productions for two seasons. In the second year of the contract, the singer entered into a contract with a rival theater for that season. The trial court granted the manager's request to enjoin the singer from appearing at the rival theater.


  • On appeal, the court affirmed. 
  • The proof on the part of the manager that he sustained large damages in consequence of the singer's act, and that the extent of such damages could not be accurately measured, was unusually clear and convincing. 
  • The facts presented at trial contained all the elements necessary to sustain an injunction against the singer's appearance at the rival theater. 
  • Because she had agreed to appear in seven performances in each week that the manager's company might give, it was not possible for her to perform elsewhere without a violation of her contract. 
  • A negative clause was unnecessary to secure to the manager exclusively the services of the singer. 
  • The manager did not unreasonably insist upon his rights under the contract to the detriment of the health of the singer that, in equity and good conscience, she was justified in breaking off her engagement.

Judgment was granted in favor of the manager.

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