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Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc. v. ScheiderBottom of Form - 75 Misc. 2d 418, 347 N.Y.S.2d 755 (Sup. Ct. 1972)

Rule:

Where the parties have completed their negotiations of what they regard as essential elements, and performance has begun on the good faith understanding that agreement on the unsettled matters will follow, the court will find and enforce a contract even though the parties have expressly left these other elements for future negotiation and agreement, if some objective method of determination is available, independent of either party's mere wish or desire. Such objective criteria may be found in the agreement itself, commercial practice or other usage and custom. If the contract can be rendered certain and complete, by reference to something certain, the court will fill in the gaps.

Facts:

Plaintiff film producer initiated an action for injunctive relief against defendant actor to enjoin the actor from rendering services to any third party at a time when he is obligated to render services to the film company. The actor agreed to appear in the pilot film and the series, but the starting dates were not negotiated. Subsequently, the actor refused to appear in the series. The court dismissed the action for being unenforceable.

Issue:

Is the contract between the plaintiff film producer and defendant actor enforceable?

Answer:

No.

Conclusion:

The court dismissed the film producer's petition for injunctive relief. The court found that the actor was subject to the film producer's option for more than one year, so any agreement had to be in writing. The court concluded that the agreement was not in writing and not signed by the actor, so there was no enforceable contract.

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