Given his heartwrenching songs, Garth Brooks knows that breaking up is hard to do. The country singer is being sued by his former business partner, who claims that she was induced to work on his behalf with the promise of great rewards. The allegations, which sound more like a country song than a lawsuit, describe Brooks as a "paranoid, angry, deceitful and vindictive man who will turn against those closest to him on a dime."
The complaint alleges breach of oral contract and fraud, and seeks $425,000 in damages from unpaid salary, bonuses and punitive damages.
The lawsuit is being brought by Lisa Sanderson, who has worked with Merv Griffin and has a few TV movie executive producer credits to boot, reports The Hollywood Reporter.
Sanderson alleges that she was “lured” away from a “successful and highly fulfilling career in television” because Brooks allegedly promised her 50 percent of producer fees paid to his production company called Red Strokes.
To make money for Red Strokes, Sanderson says she worked with Brooks for 20 years and tried to bring him television and movie work, but that Brooks botched each opportunity for ridiculous reasons.
Brooks allegedly passed on “Twister” because the tornado was the real star and “Saving Private Ryan” because “he wanted to be the star and was unwilling to share with the limelight with … Tom Hanks, Matt Damon and Edward Burns,” reports The Hollywood Reporter, quoting the complaint.
Sanderson also says that Brooks ruined chances to work with Tim Burton on “Alice in Wonderland” as well as with New Line on a Brooks-written script.
Could the country singer’s bizarre career choices give Sanderson a case?
Maybe. Oral contracts can be enforceable as long as they meet certain requirements and don’t violate the statute of frauds.
The statute of frauds is a legal doctrine that requires certain agreements be in writing, including real estate deals and contracts that take more than a year to perform.
Oral contracts are tricky since Sanderson will need to show evidence that the contract existed and that Brooks reneged on their deal. Going off the incredibly colorful complaint, it will clearly be just as much a battle of lyricism as legal prowess.