Parker v. 20th Century Fox Film Corp.
89 Cal.Rptr. 737, 474 P.2d 689 (Cal. 1970)
An actress named MacLaine
signed a contract to be in a musical in exchange for $750k.
The studio decided not to make
The studio offered MacLaine
a different movie at the same salary.
MacLaine felt the job offers
were not equivalent, and sued for breach of contract.
The Trial Court awarded
MacLaine $750k. The studio appealed.
The parties agreed that the
studio breached the contract, it was simply a question of damages.
The Trial Court decided that
the jobs were not equivalent and awarded MacLaine the entire salary
The studio argued that when
one party breaches a contract, the other party is required to attempt to
cover. In this case that meant that the employee has to make reasonable
efforts to find new work. Since
MacLaine turned down the second movie, she did not make reasonable
efforts and should not receive
The Appellate Court affirmed.
The Appellate Court found
that MacLaine had made reasonable efforts to find new work.
There was a lot of debate on
whether or not the second movie was equivalent, and if so, whether not
taking the job means that reasonable efforts were not taken.
The job was for the same
salary, and possibly comparable. The Court found that they weren't since
the movie genre was different and the location was different. The
dissent argued that although the movies were different, the job was the
Turning down a job because
it is trivially different is generally not considered enough to meet the
reasonable efforts threshold,
since no two jobs are exactly the same.