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Redgrave v. Boston Symphony Orchestra, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
855 F.2d 888 (1988)


Facts

Boston Symphony Orchestra, Inc. (BSO) (defendant) contracted with Vanessa Redgrave (plaintiff) to narrate a performance. Subsequently, the BSO received numerous public complaints about Redgrave’s upcoming performance on account of Redgrave’s political support for the Palestine Liberation Organization. After receiving these complaints from the community, BSO cancelled the contract with Redgrave. Redgrave brought suit for breach of contract. Redgrave claimed that the breach resulted in a loss of future economic opportunity because many movies and theatres that would have offered her a job in the ordinary course of events did not do so because of BSO’s cancellation. In the year after the cancellation, Redgrave agreed to work on three different films. While working on those films she turned down other offers. Each of the films, however, was eventually canceled due to financial difficulties. Redgrave also presented the testimony of Theodore Mann, a Broadway producer, who stated that after considering hiring Redgrave for a play, the production company decided not to because the BSO’s cancellation “would have a negative effect on us if we hired her.” A jury found for Redgrave and awarded her $100,000 in special, or consequential, damages. BSO filed a motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict, on which the district court found that although Redgrave proved damages, she could not recover on First Amendment grounds. Redgrave appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Coffin, J.)

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