Boswell v. RFD-TV The Theater, LLC
Tennessee Court of Appeals
498 S.W.3d 550 (2016)
Troy L. Boswell (plaintiff), a Tennessee resident, was a musical performer who contracted with RFD-TV The Theater, LLC (Theater) (defendant), a Nebraska company, to perform at Theater’s location in Branson, Missouri. The contract provided that Boswell would provide musical performances from March 1, 2007, until October 31, 2007, with a maximum of 10 shows per week, and that Theater would make weekly payments to Boswell. In the event of either party’s breach of contract, the contract provided that the prevailing party in a suit was entitled to attorney’s fees. The contract’s choice-of-law clause provided that the contract would be governed by and construed under Nebraska law. In July 2007, Theater canceled Boswell’s show and discontinued its payments to Boswell. Boswell filed suit for breach of contract in Tennessee state court, seeking the remaining compensation he was due under the contract as well as attorney’s fees. Following trial, the court held Theater was liable to Boswell for breach of contract, awarding Boswell the unpaid compensation under the contract as well as attorney’s fees. The court held that although Nebraska law prohibited the award of attorney’s fees, attorney’s fees were a matter of procedural law, not substantive law. Therefore, the contract’s choice-of-law clause did not apply, and instead Tennessee law applied. Tennessee law permitted the award of attorney’s fees if a contract expressly provided for them. Theater appealed the attorney’s-fee award.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Gibson, J.)
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