Garth Brooks Water Tower – Yukon, Oklahoma
January 18, 2012 by staff
Garth Brooks Water Tower – Yukon, Oklahoma, A jury was seated Tuesday in a breach-of-promise case pitting country music icon Garth Brooks against the largest health-care system in Oklahoma.
Brooks, 49, sued Integris Rural Health Inc. in 2009, alleging that it reneged on a promise to name a hospital building in Yukon after his mother in exchange for Brooks’ $500,000 donation to the nonprofit organization.
Colleen Brooks died of cancer in 1999.
Testimony is expected to begin Wednesday in a trial that could last into next week, according to District Judge Dynda Post, who is presiding over the trial.
“It’s more than a business deal for him,” said John Hickey, an attorney representing Brooks.
“It’s about his mom. It’s about his hometown, and it’s about promises that were made by the hospital,” Hickey said. “In his opinion, they just didn’t do the right thing.”
A jury of nine women and three men – including a software consultant, a disabled Marine Corps veteran, a registered nurse and an accountant – was selected.
A man was chosen as an alternate for the panel, which is scheduled to hear testimony from 14 witnesses, including Brooks.
He donated the money to Integris Canadian Valley Regional Hospital in December 2005, according to his lawsuit.
When the hospital notified Brooks that it wasn’t attaching naming rights to the gift, he asked for his money back in 2008 and was turned down, the lawsuit alleges.
In a written answer to Brooks’ petition, attorneys for Integris said Brooks made an “anonymous and unconditional” donation to Integris prior to his placement of any conditions.
“It’s important to know that we recognize this was a very generous donation,” said Hardy Watkins, vice president of marketing and communications for Integris.
“We think that when all the facts are presented, people will see that Integris has followed the law,” he said. “We’ve always hoped through the course of discussions and trying to come to some sort of memorial to honor his mother that we would find the right opportunity.
“Unfortunately, that has not yet occurred.”
The Tulsa-born Brooks, the top-selling solo artist in U.S. history with at least 128 million albums sold, sat at his counsel table in Wranglers and a denim shirt, clutching a black cowboy hat that he took off when he entered the courtroom.
His wife, fellow country music superstar Trisha Yearwood, was in an audience composed mostly of prospective jurors and a few members of the media.
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