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Garriott awarded $32m in NCsoft contract dispute

Korean publisher "schemed" to avoid financial obligations to Ultima creator

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the judgement that Korean publisher NCsoft should pay Ultima creator Richard Garriott $32 million for breach of contract.

The amount includes $28 million awarded by the jury in July 2010, as well as interest and attorney fees. It was the largest verdict of its kind in Texas that year.

Garriott left NCsoft in November 2008 following a pre-agreed leave of absence to visit the International Space Station. Garriott's stock options expired 90 days after leaving the company due to a clause in his contract relating to voluntary departure.

However, Garriott later claimed that NCsoft had "re-characterised" his departure as voluntary, and that the unlawful sale of his stock had cost him millions of dollars.

"NCsoft schemed to avoid its obligations to Richard at the trial court and on appeal, and neither the jury nor the 5th Circuit bought any of it," said Stephen E. Fox, an attorney at Fish & Richardson and Garriott's lead counsel.

"Contracts have consequences, and as the Court of Appeals explained, the trial court is not a trial run. This has been a long fight and we are very pleased with the Court's decision."

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Latest comments (13)

Rupert Loman Founder & CEO, Gamer Network5 years ago
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Luke Salvoni Senior iOS Developer 5 years ago
A very unique interior! But only 3 bed...
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Jonah Falcon Writer 5 years ago
I'm waiting for a comment from Lord Blackthorn and Chuckles.
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Show all comments (13)
Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 5 years ago
Now he can buy MORE pepper for his beef...
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Pablo Santos Developer 5 years ago
It really sounded to me that the actual scheme was made the other way around but... well, when it comes to contracts and obligations, truth becomes a matter of who have the best strategy/interpretation.
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Arthur N5 years ago
This guy has no shame... After his failed project costing NCsoft hundred of millions he still has the courage to steal millions from them lolll He would never have made more than 5 million USD if it wasn't for NCsoft. His games were outdated
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Rob Homewood Game Designer, Unity Programmer & Producer 5 years ago
Go Lord British!
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Murray Lorden Game Designer & Developer, MUZBOZ5 years ago
Go Lord British! I don't care what the truth of the matter is, the man's a gem, and he deserves millions. He needs it for his next castle, and his next trip to space. Don't deny him! :)

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Murray Lorden Game Designer & Developer, MUZBOZ5 years ago
"Don't mess with a man who's been into space."
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Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing 5 years ago
One NCsoft stock is currently at 14 times the value of when Garriott was fired. Who wouldn't sue for his stock options in such a constellation.
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Danielle Masek Graphic designer/Illustrator 5 years ago
Contracts only mean something if you have a lawyer to back it up. Being a freelance artist, contracts mean fucking nothing b/c I cannot afford a lawyer. Only the rich can. Kind of ass backwards in a big way.
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@ danielle - such is life such is life
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Nick McCrea Gentleman, Pocket Starship5 years ago
The man who made Ultima VII can do no wrong. I concur with Murray - the man requires funds for his space castle!
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