Anita Baker, a then unknown singer, signed a multiyear recording contract with Beverly Glen Music, Inc. (Beverly Glen).

| March 14, 2016

Question
Anita Baker, a then unknown singer, signed a multiyear recording contract with Beverly Glen Music, Inc. (Beverly Glen). Baker recorded for Beverly Glen a record album that was moderately successful. After having some difficulties with Beverly Glen, Baker was offered a considerably more lucrative contract by Warner Communications, Inc. (Warner). Baker accepted the Warner offer and informed Beverly Glen that she would not complete their contract because she had entered into an agreement with Warner. Beverly Glen sued Baker and Warner, and it sought an injunction to prevent Baker from performing as a singer for Warner. Is an injunction an appropriate remedy in this case? Beverly Glen Music, Inc. v. Warner Communications, Inc., 178 Cal. App. 3d 1142, 224 Cal. Rptr. 260, 1986 Cal. App. Lexis 2729 (Court of Appeal of California)
Answer:
No, an injunction is not an appropriate remedy in this case. Generally, a contract to render
personal services cannot be specifically enforced. An unwilling employee cannot be
compelled to continue to provide services to his employer by ordering specific performance.
To hold otherwise, would be a violation of the constitutional right against involuntary
servitude. Accordingly, Beverly Glen is prohibited from enjoining Baker from performing
the contract with Warner. In this case, however, Beverly Glen is also seeking to enjoin
Warner from employing Baker. The court held that to do so would have the same effect and
intent as enjoining Baker herself; she would be deprived of her livelihood and pressured to
return to Beverly Glen. Moreover, Beverly Glen has an adequate remedy by way of
damages; an injunction adds nothing to Beverly Glen’s recovery other than to coerce Baker
to honor her contract. Accordingly, the court affirmed the order of the trial court denying
injunctive relief. Beverly Glen Music, Inc. v. Warner Communications, Inc., 178 Cal.
App.3d 1142, 224 Cal. Rptr. 260, 1986 Cal. App. Lexis 2729 (Court of Appeal of California)

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