Garth Brooks awarded $1 million over donation made in mom’s name
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Garth Brooks is getting his money back -- and more -- from a hospital in his hometown that a jury decided had fumbled a $500,000 donation from the country music star.
At issue: whether the half-million bucks Brooks donated to Integris Canadian Valley Regional Hospital back in 2005 was to have been used for a new women’s center in his mom’s name, or was given no-strings-attached to be used on whatever the hospital chose. Pretty clear which side was Brooks’, and which was the hospital’s.
On Tuesday night, the jury awarded Brooks $1 million, half of it actual damages and half punitive, according to the Tulsa World, which noted that the award was the legal maximum.
Brooks, who had testified during the weeklong trial -- along with meeting fans and signing autographs -- was greeted by about 40 people and his own music playing loudly in the background when the trial wrapped up around 8 p.m., the Tulsa paper said.
‘One day Mom’s name is going to go on the women’s center right there where the hospital is,’ Brooks said outside the courtroom. ‘But that hospital won’t be owned by Integris when it happens, I can tell you that. That’s my dream.’
The country star reportedly became quite emotional at times testifying about his mom. He also held up his cellphone outside the courthouse so fans could yell, ‘Hi, Trisha!’ to his wife, Trisha Yearwood, when she called him to hear about the verdict.
Brooks’ lawyer argued that the singer had a verbal agreement with James Moore, the chief executive of the Yukon, Okla., hospital, to put Colleen Brooks’ name on a women’s center -- that after Moore first suggested naming an intensive care unit, an idea Brooks said he rejected as not suitable for his mom’s image.
Moore recalled a discussion involving several naming options, but no solid deal. According to the World, one rejected possibility was a $15-million donation to name the whole hospital after Colleen Brooks. No written correspondence confirmed a deal to name a new women’s center. No new women’s center was built, and Integris had not spent the donation, Moore testified.
‘Obviously we are disappointed, particularly with the jury’s decision to award damages above and beyond the $500,000,’ Integris spokesman Hardy Watkins said. ‘We’re just glad to see the case come to a resolution.’
Colleen Brooks died of complications from cancer in 1999. Garth Brooks, who was born in Tulsa, grew up in Yukon.
-- Christie D'Zurilla
The Associated Press contributed to this report.