APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIRST DISTRICT, FIRST DIVISION
528 N.E.2d 294, 174 Ill. App. 3d 274, 123 Ill. Dec. 749 1988.IL.1287
Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Arthur Dunne, Judge, presiding.
JUSTICE O'CONNOR delivered the opinion of the court. QUINLAN and MANNING, JJ., concur.
DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE O'CONNOR
This appeal arises from a breach of contract action brought by plaintiff Ken Carlson against defendant Sears, Roebuck and Company (Sears). After a bench trial, judgment was entered in favor of Carlson, from which Sears appeals. For the reasons set forth below, we affirm.
Ken Carlson, president of Ken Carlson & Associates, is a casting director, an agent hired by theaters and corporations to locate talent for their various projects. Carlson determines the type of talent needed for a particular project and identifies actors and celebrities with the requisite talent. From a field of candidates, the business selects the individual it wishes to hire. Carlson then contacts the individual on behalf of the business and presents an offer to the individual. For Carlson's services of matching talent to the particular projects, the business pays a fee, usually a percentage of the amount paid to the individual by the business, or a specified amount if the individual and the business fail to come to terms.
In late 1983 and early 1984, Sears, through Ronald L. Ramseyer, manager of Sears' national catalog division, entered into a written agreement with Carlson to locate a celebrity to pose for the cover of their Summer 1984 catalog. Stephanie Powers was identified as Sears' first choice, but Powers and Sears were unable to reach satisfactory terms because Powers demanded a fee that Sears considered excessive for one catalog cover. Sears terminated Carlson in February or March of 1984 and paid the specified fee of $3,500.
Prior to January 1984, the Sears apparel group, a division of Sears independent of the Sears catalog advertising department, decided to promote a line of clothing for the career woman. In February 1984, Ms. Powers, through a personal representative, presented an unsolicited merchandising proposal to the Sears apparel group that was rejected because the apparel group was looking for a name designer to endorse the clothing line.
In May or June 1984, the Sears catalog division, through Ramseyer, again contacted Carlson and requested that he help locate a celebrity to appear on the covers of four seasonal catalogs to be published over a one-year period. Sears again selected Stephanie Powers as its first choice. Ramseyer sent a letter to Carlson, date June 27, 1984, authorizing Carlson to make an offer to Powers on behalf of Sears, which included paying Ms. Powers $200,000. After brief negotiations, Powers and Sears agreed to $250,000, for which Powers would, in addition to the covers, engage in other services such as media dates and schedules for national ads, personal appearances, and a video cassette of television commercials.
A second written agreement (the letter agreement) dated July 18, 1984, was drafted by Carlson and executed without revision by Ramseyer on behalf of Sears on July 19, 1984. The letter agreement stated:
"You have requested us to assist you in connection with performing the following services:
CELEBRITY FOR FUTURE CATALOGS AND OTHER SERVICES TO BE RENDERED BY ...