It would not surprise me to hear a judge on motion day exclaim that, “this is a circus”. A recent case listing in The Virginia Jury Verdict Reporter was right on point. Two circus performers, whose act included juggling while riding on horses, recently brought a contract breach lawsuit against their former employer Ringling Brothers.
The two brothers from Hungary performed an act of juggling and comedy while performing acrobatics on horseback. a real “the whole enchilada” kind of performance. Their act was obviously circus-worthy. They entered into a contract with Ringling Bros. and Barnum circus to perform. Then, the real circus began when they started performing.
Preceding the horse/acrobatics act was a tiger act. Not surprisingly, the performers were reminded that tigers and horses don’t mix well. In fact, one of the horses in the act named Cornbread, became especially spooked by the tigers and emotionally crumbled during the act (yes… I am getting carried away). During one of the shows, Cornbread became so upset that he trampled one of the brothers during the act.
The brothers knew that they had a major problem, so they went to circus management and asked to be placed in a different order of performance, to avoid the tiger problem. Management refused to move the order of their act. The brothers threatened to quit. The circus terminated their contract. The brothers sued the circus for breach of contract.
The circus defense was that it had the absolute right to determine the order of the performance of the acts. The brothers asserted that the tigers made it impossible to perform the act, as evidenced by previous performances. And, the termination of the act by the circus was not for cause; the only reason that the Circus would have had the right to terminate the contract.
The jury ruled in favor of the brothers. Each brother was awarded $57,200 in damages and an additional $26,400 more for a lease claim. The combined verdict totaled $114,200. And no, there was no offer to pay the verdict in popcorn and cotton candy!
DID YOU KNOW that President Richard Nixon banned soup from being served at state dinners because he was otherwise known to spill it on himself while eating.
Pic o’ day friendship.