Lawsuit


Giuseppina Morlacchi

In December of 1868, Giuseppina Morlacchi was involved in a lawsuit in Philadelphia. The Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper of December 4, 1868 has the details:



Giuseppina Morlacchi vs. John E. McDonough.


This was quite an interesting suit, recalling recollections, pleasant or otherwise, of the departed Black Crook. The "Great Morlacchi" invoked the strong arm of the law to do her justice by bringing an action against Mr. McDonough to recover compensation for doing the Dancing Fairy three weeks for the Quaker City.


She alleged that during the past summer she made a three-month engagement with Mr. McDonough as principal danseuse in the Black Crook ballet, the contract being that for a sally of $200 per week she would dance for him at such "theatres as he might engage," when required by him, submitting to the general rules of the company; and she fulfilled her part of the agreement, but he refused to pay her for the three weeks she performed at the Walnut Street Theatre in August last,


The defense set up that while the theatre was being prepared for the production of the spectacle, Morlacchi was in Chicago, and Mr. McDonough telegraphed her to come to this city by the 17th of July, but she, not heeding his direction, postponed her arrival until the 20th, thus causing the Company to be idle three days, during which it might have been giving profitable performances in some of the neighboring towns. She had broken her engagement in disobeying the call of her employer, and he was, therefore, relieved from liability on his part.


But counsel for little Morlacchi argues that it would have been utterly impossible to have arranged any unprepared stage for this piece in three days, and he had not shown that he intended its performance anywhere else; moreover, the express terms of the contract were that she should dance at any theatre he might have engaged and prepared, and he did not have the Walnut Street Theatre ready until the 3rd of August, and, therefore, until that time he was not entitled to a single wag of her toe.


The jury rendered a verdict for the plaintiff for $612.


Walnut Street Theatre


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