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Radio Host Howard Stern Loses on New York Breach of Contract Claim


Posted on Jan 01, 2016

On Tuesday, April 17, 2012, the New York Supreme Court dismissed a lawsuit brought by celebrity radio personality Howard Stern. In Mr. Stern’s action, he accused Sirius XM of breach of contract for not providing him with promised stock. The lawsuit was filed by One Twelve, Mr. Stern’s production company, and his agent, Don Buchwald.

Mr. Stern’s relationship with Sirius XM began in 2004 when he took his popular morning show from CBS radio to the satellite network. When he made the switch, Mr. Stern and Sirius XM entered into a five-year contract beginning in 2006. The agreement was worth an estimated $500 million. It was renewed in 2010 for an additional five-year term. 

In their lawsuit, One Twelve and Buchwald alleged that Sirius XM failed to honor its obligations under the performance based compensation provisions of a 2004 agreement. They asserted that Sirius XM had promised to pay Mr. Stern stock compensation tied to subscriber growth. According to the defendant, however, the Court held that the agreement was unambiguous. It further held that Sirius XM had complied with all of their obligations under the contract.

New York contract law is complex. Breach of contract claims are based upon the facts and circumstances of each particular incident. Generally, a plaintiff will have to demonstrate:

  • That there was an enforceable agreement;
  • That the plaintiff fulfilled his obligations;
  • That the defendant breached the agreement; and
  • That the plaintiff sustained damages as a result.

For more information, contact a New York breach of contract attorney at (888) 497-3410.

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