Jameson was ordered to reimburse the Hollywood Palms theater group for promotional expenses and lost revenue after Jameson violated terms of her contract which required her to attend movie premiers at two Illinois theaters.
Jameson did not appear in court, and did not contest the charges. Representatives for the adult film actress had previously told the theater group that Jameson would not defend the lawsuit. She had originally hired a local attorney to assist during the early stages of trial, but he later withdrew as counsel.
In the contract, Hollywood Palms had agreed to cover Jameson’s travel expenses and pay her $10,000 for appearances at the Naperville and Woodridge theaters. The appearances were scheduled to coincide with showings of a movie in which Jameson starred called “Zombie Strippers!”
Jameson notified the theater group that she wouldn’t be able to attend less than 48 hours before the event. She claimed to have fallen ill, but was videotaped at a celebrity birthday party in California during the same weekend.
Representatives for Hollywood Palms argued that the theater group lost over $40,000 in promotional expenses, ticket reimbursements, concession sales, and travel arrangements because Jameson breached the contract.
Hollywood Palms CEO Ted Bulthaup said the group lost even more in free promotion. He argued that the theaters use celebrity appearances to generate excitement about upcoming events through advertisements and interviews. Not only did the company lose out on free publicity, but Jameson’s failed appearance also hurt the credibility of Hollywood Palms.
The lawsuit sought $250,000 in costs and publicity value, although presiding judge Patrick Leston found that number “highly speculative”. However, he did award the group $50,000 for lost publicity and $42,000 for operational costs.
Attorney Sean Sullivan Comments
I would recommend that the theater group includes a “Liquidated Damages” clause next time they hire a celebrity to promote a film. In this case, the judge found the $250,000 figure “highly speculative”, but a liquidated damages clause would have defined the revenue the theater group stood to lose. Although a liquidated damages clause is tricky to draft, it provides an actual value for assets lost due to a breach of contract.
For example, in a contract for the completion of a shopping mall, the builder proposes a certain day that the mall will be finished and open for business. For every day that the mall is still not completed by the promised deadline, the builder would be charged a certain amount, say $10,000, because the shopping mall owner is losing business each day the mall is not open. It’s hard to determine the exact amount the owner is losing each day the mall isn’t open, but the liquidated damages clause eliminates the ambiguity of the lost revenue. The builder knows the penalty for not meeting his end of the bargain and the shopping mall owner is compensated per day for his lost revenue at an amount both sides agreed to. A Judge is much more likely to uphold any damages claimed under this clause then any figure the plaintiff comes up with on their own.
Related Source: Chicago Tribune