Reier Broad. Co. v. Kramer

2003 MT 165, 316 Mont. 301, 72 P.3d 944

 

RULE:

Injunctions are rarely used to enforce contract rights or prevent breaches. However, the legislature has set forth statutory guidelines for the use of injunctions. An applicable guideline is found at Mont. Code Ann. § 27-19-103(5). Under § 27-19-103(5), an injunction cannot be obtained to prevent the breach of a contract the performance of which would not be specifically enforced. A list of obligations which cannot be specifically enforced is found at Mont. Code Ann. § 27-1-412.

FACTS:

Appellant broadcast company held the exclusive rights to broadcast athletic events at the local university. Appellee football coach entered into an employment contract, whereby appellant agreed to pay appellee $ 10,020 per year in exchange for exclusive broadcast rights with appellee. After the expiration of appellant’s exclusive rights to broadcast the athletic events, the university awarded broadcast rights to a new broadcast company and notified appellee that he was expected to provide interviews to that company. Appellant filed for a temporary restraining order to protect its rights under the employment agreement. The district court concluded that an injunction was prohibited by Mont. Code Ann. § 27-19-103(5). Appellant moved to alter or amend the district court's judgment. The district court denied the motion, and appellant appealed. The state supreme court affirmed the district court’s judgment.

ISSUE:

Did Mont. Code Ann. § 27-19-103(5), within the context of a personal services contract, prohibit the use of injunctive relief by appellant broadcast company to prevent appellee football coach from performing services elsewhere during the life of the contract?

ANSWER:

Yes.

CONCLUSION:

The issuance of an injunction, preventing appellee football coach from working for the new broadcast company, would result in the indirect specific enforcement of the employment contract. Accordingly, appellant broadcast company was not entitled to prevent appellee from performing services elsewhere during the life of the employment contract.

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