ContractsProf Blog

Editor: D. A. Jeremy Telman
Valparaiso Univ. Law School

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Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Pulling the Plug on Local Karaoke Nights

Oktava319_1 Bull & Bear, a local pub in Syracuse, NY, has been slapped with a lawsuit because of its karaoke nights.  The lawsuit doesn't allege noise complaints or grossly off-key renditions of Friends in Low Places.  Rather, ASCAP lawyers sued the local pub in federal court for using unlicensed songs:

ASCAP lawyers filed the lawsuit after a private investigator hired by the organization attended a karaoke night at the bar and wrote down the names of songs the singers were performing. Any public performance of copyrighted songs requires the venue to have a license to use the tunes, the lawsuit said.

The licensing fees would have cost the pub about $3500 for the past five years.  The lawsuit requests that the pub stop hosting karaoke nights and pay between $750 and $30,000 for each violation.

[Meredith R. Miller]

July 26, 2006 in In the News | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, July 20, 2006

British Court Must Watch Jerry Springer Show

Flextech Television provides 10 channels of programming for a British cable operator.  In 1998, Flextech entered into a contract with Universal Studios which committed Flextech to air the Jerry Springer show while it was running in the U.S.  In 2001, Flextech claims  the "vast majority" of episodes contained content which was unsuitable for daytime viewing and which would violate British broadcasting rules.  Flextech claims it was entitled to cancel the contract on this basis.  Universal, on the other hand, insists that the Springer show had not changed much.

The Washington Post reports that a British appellate court has remanded this contract case to a trial judge to decide "whether content had changed enough to amount to a breach of contract."  How will the court determine whether the content of the show had become "too strong for local tastes"?  By watching some of the 400 hours of videotape of the Springer show. . .

[Meredith R. Miller]

July 20, 2006 in In the News | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Monday, July 17, 2006

SOF Bites Plaintiff

New_york_flag_11 An alleged oral deal to buy a corporation whose only asset was a piece of real property was subject to the statute of frauds, said the New York Appellate Division in a recent decision.  In the case, the defendant had proffered a written stock purchase agreement to the plaintiff.  A clause in the agreement provided:  "This Contract shall not be binding upon the Seller until such time as Seller has executed the Contract and delivered a fully executed copy of the Contract to Buyer or Buyer's attorney."  Seller subsequently decided to take a better deal and Buyer sued, claiming an oral contract.  It argued that its attempts to re-zone the property were a part performance of the deal.  Plaintiff lost at the trial court, got hit with sanctions there, then appealed.

Bad move.  The Appellate Division flatly rejected the legal claim in a per curiam opinion:

In view of defendants' clear showing of an intent not to be bound without a formal contract and the absence of credible evidence tending to show a meeting of the minds on all material terms, the action and filing of the notice of pendency were completely without merit in law.

Even if Plaintiff had got the property rezoned, it would not amount to a part performance that would make the statute of frauds inapplicable.  "Rather, plaintiff's unilateral conduct, standing alone, could easily be seen as the premature acts of an overly optimistic potential buyer . . . ." 

The court found both the original claim and the appeal of the sanctions so frivolous that on its own motion it socked the plaintiff with more sanctions, sending it back to the trial court to take evidence on Defendant's legal fees.

Yenom Corp. v. 155 Wooster Street Inc., 2006 N.Y. Slip Op. 05732 (1st Dept. July 13, 2006).

July 17, 2006 in Recent Cases | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Friday, July 7, 2006

Carolina On My Mind ...

This is a bit premature, but I will be out of blog contact for the next week and wanted to alert you that North Carolina is on the cusp of enacting Revised Article 1 (and Revised Article 7).  SB 1555 has passed both houses of the North Carolina legislature without objection and been ratified by the originating house.  All that remains is for Governor Michael F. Easley to sign it or fail to veto it within 10 days from presentation.  (The clock should begin to run today or Monday.)

Enacting SB 1555 will make North Carolina the twenty-first state to have enacted Revised Article 1 (and the twenty-third to have enacted Revised Article 7) and the twenty-first state to have rejected the language of uniform R1-301 in favor of language similar to that found in its version of pre-revised 1-105.  Enacting SB 1555 will make North Carolina the fifteenth state to have adopted the unitary good faith standard of uniform R1-201(b)(20).

Elsewhere, California SB 1481, which had passed the Senate when I last reported on it, still awaits final approval by the Assembly, followed by some conference work to resolve differences between the version of the bill the Senate passed and the version now before the Assembly.

[Keith A. Rowley]

July 7, 2006 in Legislation | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, July 4, 2006

Kingsfield and Contracts

Kingsfield Tom Swinnea of AustiTom Swinnea of Austin, Texas, has a 1972 copy of Fuller & Eisenberg's Basic Contract Law signed by John Houseman -- as Charles W. Kingsfield, of Paper Chase (1973) fame, of course.  He's putting the book up for auction on e-bay.  Here's the story behind the signature, sent to the blog editors:

When I was a student at the University of Texas School of Law, John Houseman spoke at Townes Hall.  The discussion that night was about support for local and regional theaters, and some remembrances of his almost fifty years of work on stage and screen.   

At the conclusion of the speech, I went up on stage with my Basic Contract Law casebook.  This is the Fuller and Eisenberg casebook, copyright 1972.  Rather than dash off a quick signature, he looked at the book, looked at me, and said, "I have a special autograph for you."  With that, he signed "Charles W. Kingsfield" across the frontcover page.  Based on when The Paper Chase came out (1973), the 1972 copyright of this West edition, and the book and first case discussed in the movie, it looks like it was this edition of the book that was used in the movie.

If you ever needed or wanted the casebook with the first case of Hawkins v. McGee signed by Charles W. Kingsfield, your chance is coming up.

The email was sent to us a few days ago, and the auction seems to now be posted on ebay. Try connecting to it here.

[Carol Chomsky]

July 4, 2006 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)