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Friday, April 19, 2013

Are Celebrity Party Appearances Like Mr. Saffir's Fantasy Camps?

The end of the semester is near (cue Alice Cooper). Thus, my class has just completed damages and is moving on to third parties. One of the last damages cases we discussed was Hollywood Fantasy Corp. v. Gabor.  In that case, Zsa Zsa Gabor breached a contract with a company started by Leonard Saffir.  Saffir organized and promoted celebrity fantasy camps in which regular people could pay a large fee to spend time with and act with celebrities like Gabor.  When Gabor breached, Saffir had to cancel the camp and his company went bankrupt.  

The Gabor case often is used to illustrate the damage concepts of certainty and reliance.  Saffir could not show that his expected lost profits were certain enough but he was able to prove reliance damages.  When we discuss the case in class, many students scoff at Saffir's business idea as if it was borderline crazy.  However, one student recently drew a parallel between Saffir's plan and the common plan of party promoters who secure celebrity appearances in order to increase attendance at nightclubs and other locales.  In one recent version, Philadelphia promoter Bobby Capone (the modern day Saffir?) contracted with X-Factor host and former Saved by the Bell star, Mario "You'll Always Be Slater to Me" Lopez, to appear at a party Capone was planning months later.  When Lopez canceled without an excuse, Capone, like Saffir, sued for breach, seeking lost profits and reliance damages (though the complaint does not use those exact words).  The comparison's not perfect but it is helpful when trying to understand Mr. Saffir's plans.

And there ends my attempt to compare Mario Lopez to Zsa Zsa Gabor.

[Heidi R. Anderson, h/t to student Rylee Genseal] 

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