The New York Supreme Court today handed America’s Got Talent judge Howard Stern a further defeat in his multimillion-dollar suit against Sirius XM. “We agree with the motion court that plaintiffs are not entitled to additional performance-based compensation under the unambiguous agreement between plaintiffs and defendant’s predecessor, Sirius Satellite Radio Inc,” the First Appellate Division wrote today. Justices Rosalyn H. Richter, Angela M. Mazzarelli, Luis A. Gonzalez, Dianne T. Renwick and Judith J. Gische represented the appeals court panel. In a suit filed in March 2011, Stern’s company One Twelve and his agent Don Buchwald claimed that they were owed more than $300 million after Sirius exceeded subscriber targets following its merger with rival XM in 2008. Stern actually did get a $25 million bonus from the company as a result of the merger but he claimed he was expecting more. Judge Barbara Kapnick of the New York State Supreme Court tossed the suit last year on April 17. “Looking solely to the plain language used by the parties within the four corners of the agreement the disputed term “Sirius subscribers,” by which plaintiffs’ performance-based compensation was measured, did not include subscribers to XM Radio, a wholly owned subsidiary which defendant acquired by merger, even though the merger had been anticipated within the agreement,” added the judges today.
Thursday’s ruling was a result of an appeal Stern and Buchwald filed on April 26 and makes it very hard for Stern to take another swing at getting a ruling in his favor. Still, Stern can take some small comfort in being able to do some judging of his own when America’s Got Talent returns to NBC on June 4 – though admittedly, it’s no $300 million.
Seth D. Rothman of Hughes Hubbard & Reed represented the radio and TV host’s production company and Buchwald. Sirius was represented by Gary P. Naftalis of Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel.