Case Study: Maclaine V. Big Country, Big Man

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Nature of the Case:
The amount of damages owed to a wrongfully discharged employee, when the promising entity chooses to not hold up their end of the contract instead attempting to mitigate the potential damages with an offer of employment in a lesser project.

The Plaintiff, actress Shirley Maclaine was contracted with the defendant to perform in a musical called “Bloomer Girl”. However the defendant, Twentieth Century-Fox chose not to produce the film instead choosing to produce a western titled “Big Country, Big Man”. Maclaine was offered a role in the new film but chose to decline and initiated legal action in order to recover the salary that was promised to her under the original contract.

Should the Plaintiff’s failure to accept substitute employment affect the amount of compensation that they should receive in any legal action?
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It is the job of the employer to show that the alternative employment was comparable to the original employment promised in the contract. If the alternative employment is found to be inferior the amount of compensation that the plaintiff receives should not be affected. In this case acting in “Big Country, Big Man” was considered inferior employment and therefore would not reduce the amount of compensation that Mrs. Maclaine would
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