Thursday, November 3, 2011

A Growing Necessity For The Enforcement Of Personal Contracts

On application of Pattison & Crane, attorneys for Henry V. Lucas, Judge Horner, sitting in Court Room No. 4, on yesterday issued a temporary order of injunction restraining Tony Mullane from playing base ball with the Toledo Club or any club other than the St. Louis Unions, and directing him to show cause, if any, why the order should not be made permanent.  In support of the motion, Newton Crane presented the contract entered into between the defendant and the Union Club.  Thomas J. Cornelius appeared "accidentally," as he said, for the defendant, and opposed the motion on the ground that he could satisfy the Court that no contract existed between the parties, and also that the order, if granted would inflict a hardship upon the Toledo Club, who were innocent parties. 
The Decision. 
After hearing the arguments the Judge remarked that there was a growing necessity for the enforcement of personal contracts.  A contract for personal service should be just as obligatory as a contract for the delivery of a quantity of wheat, and where there were no means for punishing a person who violated a personal contract, there should be some means to compel him to fulfill his obligations.  As far as the allegation that the Toledo Club would suffer a hardship if a restraining order were issued; if, as alleged by the plaintiff, they had engaged a person whom they knew to have been under contract to other parties they had no right to complain.  He would, however, demand a bond sufficiently large to protect the defendant from harm.  He then granted the order and placed the bond at $5,000.  Henry V. Lucas and Fred W. Espenscheid signed the bond, and the order was handed to Deputy Sheriff Al Collins for service.  After a trip to Sportsman's Park and return Collins came across Mullane about 1 o'clock, in front of the Leclede, and proceeded to read him the order.  When he had finished Mullane remarked: "I suppose that settles it, and I can't play?"  "That settles it for a certainty," replied Collins.  "Well, that will give me a rest for a day or two."  The hearing of the question of making the order permanent will probably occur on Wednesday morning. 
Future Action. 
In reply to questions asked by a Globe-Democrat reporter, Mr. Crane said he could not say anything relative to future action, except that if the decision of the Court was against his side they would, of course, bow to its majesty.  His firm had, however, taken the case from Mr. Lucas with instructions to press it to the last legal recourse, and, while treating it strictly as a law case, they will, if necessary, exhaust every process which can subserve their client's rights.  What will be done in the future depends in a great measure upon the result of the pending proceedings. 
Position of the Toledo Club. 
Another lawyer, in speaking of the case, said that he had reason to believe that Mr. Lucas would institute a suit for damages against the Toledo Club for inducing Mullane to break his contract with the Union Club.  This could be done under the law of master and servant, and Lucas could go into court with a good claim for actual as well as exemplary, or plenary, damages.  If Judge Horner permanently enjoins Mullane from playing with any other club than the Unions, and the Toledo Club still continues to harbor him, almost any lawyer would be glad to take a case against them on a contingent fee, providing, of course, that the members of the club are responsible in a financial sense.
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, May 6, 1884

Ah, the Mullane case.  Can't ever get enough of it.

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