Country singer Garth Brooks has prevailed in his lawsuit to force the IntegrisCanadian Valley Regional Hospital in Yukon, Oklahoma to return half a million dollars from a prior gift. The case will likely be examined closely by universities and hospitals as a cautionary tale on the handling of donor money. What is clear is that, after taking one of its largest donors to court, the IntegrisCanadian Valley Regional Hospital can expect a rather chilly response from future donors. Here is the get part: the jury decided that he was a Victim of the Game and made the damages a cool $1 million dollars with punitive damages. Now that was a smart legal strategy for the hospital.
Garth argued that he had a handshake agreement to name a women’s center in honor of his late mother. When given The Cold Shoulder and told that no wing would have his mother’s name, Garth basically said “Do What You Gotta Do” but that he “Ain’t Goin’ Down.”
The oral agreement made for a difficult breach-of-contract lawsuit, but Garth said that I’d Rather Have Nothing than have his money dispersed among different projects. Fortunately, the jury agreed with Brooks and rejected the testimony of the hospital’s president, James Moore, that no such understanding was reached. Instead, the hospital wants to just spend the money on various construction projects. It was a remarkably ill-conceived position for the hospital that poisoned the water for future donors. The man gave you half a million dollars for God’s sake — fulfill his wishes. Instead, the hospital spent a load of money on lawyers and told future donors that they better bring their own counsel when trying to give away money to the hospital.
Of course, the hospital could say that it named a wing after the mother of “Chris Gaines.”