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In Deposition, Brooks Cannot Recall Hospital Deal

07:01 AM Tuesday 1/24/12 |   |

Garth Brooks says an Oklahoma hospital pledged to name a women’s center for his late mother in return for $500,000, but a deposition unveiled Monday showed that, after filing a lawsuit, the country singer couldn’t remember what he had been promised.

Brooks claims the Integris Canadian Valley Regional Hospital failed to honor a promise to place Colleen Brooks’ name on a new women’s center in his hometown of Yukon. The center was never built and the singer wants his money back, plus punitive damages.

In testimony Friday, Brooks said he believed that, after a number of meetings and telephone calls, he reached a verbal agreement with the hospital in 2005.

  • Garth Brooks

    With wife Trisha Yearwood, right, greeting fans at the Rogers County Courthouse in Claremore, Okla.
    January 20, 2012

    (AP Photo)

    | 

But in a brief cross-examination Monday, Integris lawyer Terry Thomas showed statements Brooks made in a deposition given after the singer filed a breach-of-contract claim against the hospital in 2009. In it, Brooks couldn’t say whether a new women’s center was promised, or whether Colleen Brooks’ name would be attached to an existing center.

“I don’t remember,” Brooks said in the deposition.

The singer concluded his testimony Monday and both sides rested after two defense witnesses took the stand briefly. Rogers County District Judge Dynda Post set closing arguments for Tuesday morning and told jurors they should expect to stay as late as midnight Tuesday to resolve the case.

Brooks’ property manager, Emmett Gilliam, who was called by Integris, acknowledged under defense questioning that he had said in a deposition that he didn’t believe Brooks and the hospital had reached a formal agreement for naming rights. He said in testimony Monday that he believed they had, and said his different testimony could be attributed to how the question was asked.

“Sometimes it is very difficult to say what you mean because you don’t understand the context,” he said.

Tony Kouba, a member of the Integris Foundation board at Yukon, said that at a 2007 meeting with Brooks – at which the singer claimed to have been shown building mockups – the discussion centered on possibilities, not proposals. He said no one talked about specific ideas and that Brooks remarked in a 2005 meeting: “I probably should do something for Yukon because they’ve been awful good to me.”

Kouba also said that, when the sides meet in 2007, Brooks seemed indifferent to the ideas discussed.

“There wasn’t much response one way or another. He was talking very much in generalities and you always felt you could never get him tied down to something,” Kouba said.

In earlier questioning of Brooks, Thomas concentrated on casting doubt on any verbal agreement that Integris would place his mother’s name on a new women’s center if he donated $500,000 by the end of 2005. Brooks testified Monday he couldn’t remember 100 percent of the conversations but knew a deal was made.

Thomas also disputed Brooks’ insistence that the 2005 deal was firm.

“You have alleged that following (the phone conversations) with Mr. Moore that you relied on the representation of Integris and that you had a deal with Mr. Moore,” Thomas said.

“Yes, sir. Most certainly,” Brooks replied.

“Isn’t it true that conversations occurred for a long time after the (telephone conversations)?” Thomas asked.

“No, sir. That’s not true,” Brooks said.

Thomas then pointed out the singer’s lawsuit, which claimed in its introduction that Brooks, his lawyers and Integris had continuing discussions about Brooks’ donation beyond 2005 before they broke down, prompting the 2009 lawsuit.

Colleen Brooks died of cancer in 1999. Thomas suggested that naming the existing women’s center after Colleen Brooks could still happen.


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