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."