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Graham v. Scissor-Tail, Inc.

California Supreme Court
28 Cal.3d 807, 171 Cal. Rptr. 604, 623 P.2d 165 (1981)



Bill Graham (plaintiff), an experienced musical concert promoter, entered into a contract with Scissor-Tail, Inc. (defendant), a company representing recording artist Leon Russell, to establish a multi-city concert tour where Russell would give performances. Graham signed four, standardized, identical forms known as “American Federation of Musicians (AFM) Form B” contracts. AFM is a union representing musicians and other entertainers. A provision in each of the contracts provided that any dispute that arose between Graham and Scissor-Tail would be arbitrated by AFM’s international executive board. Russell’s subsequent concert performances failed to generate the expected profits and resulted in a falling out between Graham and Scissor-Tail. Graham filed suit against Scissor-Tail for breach of contract, declaratory relief, and rescission. Scissor-Tail moved to compel arbitration which the trial court granted. After the international executive board arbitrator ruled in Scissor-Tail’s favor, Graham filed a petition in the trial court to have the award vacated. The trial court denied Graham’s petition and confirmed the international executive board’s award in Scissor-Tail’s favor. The California Supreme Court granted certiorari to review.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (En Banc.)

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