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Howard Stern is appealing a New York judge’s dismissal of his $300 million lawsuit against Sirius XM Radio for allegedly cheating him out of promised stock bonuses.
Two weeks ago, Judge Barbara Kapnick rejected Stern’s contention that he deserved the benefit of a contract that promised Stern additional stock compensation if Sirius exceeded certain subscriber target projection. Sirius had exceeded the targets, but only when customers directly gathered through the merger with XM were counted.
Stern believed himself to be Sirius’ partner and that his participation in Sirius’ success put the company in a position to make such a move. But the judge said the “clear, unambiguous language of the Agreement” led her to conclude that XM’s subscribers shouldn’t be counted for purposes of determining Stern’s bonus. In particular, the judge pointed to a provision that gave Stern $25 million “in the event Sirius merges with XM,” a distinct part of the contract that the judge saw as indicative that the parties never intended to treat XM’s added subscribers in the compensation calculation.
Now, Stern is going to the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court for a review.
According to a pre-argument statement submitted with the appeal, Kapnick “misinterpreted the parties’ contract and granted summary judgment for defendant before there was any discovery taken in the action. Reversal is warranted because, among other things, the parties’ contract is clear on its face that plaintiffs are entitled to the relief they seek or is, at a minimum, ambiguous.”
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