Warner Brothers Pictures v Nelson: 1936

Bette Davis contracted with the plaintiff film company to render her services as an actress exclusively to that company. With nearly six years of the contractual term yet to run, Ms Davis contracted with a third person to appear as a film artist.
Held: Though a decree of specific performance, either in the primary or the secondary sense, is not normally available to enforce a contract of personal service, the defendant was to be restrained by injunction from rendering services in any motion picture or stage production for anyone save the original employer, but the injunction was granted only for up to three years, although the contract might have run for six years, on the basis that the lesser of three years or the actual term would reasonably protect the plaintiff against the consequences of the defendant’s breach.
References: [1937] 1 KB 209, [1936] 3 All ER 160, 106 LJKB 97
Judges: Branson J
This case is cited by:

  • Cited – Esso Petroleum Co Ltd v Harper’s Garage (Stourport) Ltd HL 1968
    Agreement in Restraint of Trade Unenforceable
    The defendant ran two garages under solus agreements with the plaintiffs who complained when the defendants began to purchase petrol from cheaper alternative sources. The House was asked whether the solus agreements were be regarded in law as an . .
    ([1968] AC 269, , [1967] UKHL 1, [1967] 1 All ER 699)
  • Cited – Araci v Fallon CA 4-Jun-2011
    araci_fallonCA2011
    The claimant said that the defendant jockey had agreed to ride the claimant’s horse in the Epsom Derby (to be run on the date of the hearing), and that he should not be allowed to ride another horse. The parties had entered into a Rider Retainer . .
    (, [2011] EWCA Civ 668)

These lists may be incomplete.
Last Update: 27 November 2020; Ref: scu.440458