The idea of compelling a close personal association over a protracted period of time after disputes have arisen and loyalty and confidence dissipated has been repugnant to courts facing the situation.
A restaurant sought to enforce its contract with a musician to provide entertainment at the restaurant and enjoin him from playing musical instruments for any other establishment during times that would conflict with performance of his contract. The trial court sided with the restaurant and ordered the musician to fulfill his contract under specific performance. The case was appealed to the Supreme Court of South Carolina.
Was specific performance the proper remedy?
The court concluded that neither specific performance nor injunctive relief was a proper remedy for enforcement of the musician's contract for personal services. Assuming that a valid contract was effected between the parties, the court found that the personal services required of the musician were to be performed on a sustained basis over a three year period. The idea of compelling a close personal association over a protracted period of time after disputes had arisen and loyalty and confidence dissipated was repugnant to the court. The court noted that the exception allowing specific performance of a personal service contract was confined to instances where the performer possessed unique and exceptional skill or ability in his area of expertise. The court concluded that the musician's musical talent was not of such a unique quality as to warrant an award of specific performance.