SW Legal Educational Publishing

Pay or Play Jury Tells Liz
Description Appeals court reinstated jury verdict in favor of Cicely Tyson for her brief appearance in a failed Broadway show backed by Elizabeth Taylor. Jury could find that a sequence of contracts constituted one contract enforceable for full payment under industry rule of pay or play.
Topic Contracts
Key Words Contemporaneous Contracts, Pay or Play Guarantee
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Actress Cicely Tyson, through her personal service company, This is Me, agreed to take the lead role in a Broadway production of "The Corn Is Green," and for expected taping of the production for television, in a production directed by Elizabeth Taylor and Broadway producer Zev Bufman. There were a series of contracts, somewhat conflicting, about the services and payment guarantees. The play folded quickly and Tyson was paid only a fraction of the amount in the two contracts. She claimed that under standard industry rules of "pay or play," she was due the full amount. The jury agreed but the judge set the judgment aside. Tyson appealed.
Decision Jury verdict reinstated. The jury, drawing reasonable inferences in favor of plaintiff, was justified, in reading together various agreements about Tyson's performance of the play and the videotaping to find a single contract that fell under the pay or play rule. Taylor and Bufman are personally liable as signatories to the contracts.
Citation This Is Me, Inc. v. Taylor, ---F.3d---(1998 WL 667989, 2nd Cir.)
157 F. 3d 139 (2nd Cir., 1998)

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