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Rod Stewart Loses Court Case

British rock legend Rod Stewart has lost a lawsuit brought by concert promoters who demanded he return a 780,000-dollar deposit made for nine concerts he never gave. 

A Los Angeles jury on Friday ordered the raspy-voiced singer to pay back the deposit to three concert promoters and ruled that his lawyers and talent agents must pay the trio an additional 1.6 million dollars in damages.

The panel ruled against Stewart, 59, at the end of a two-week trial triggered by a lawsuit brought against Stewart by US promoter Howard Pollack of PM Group Inc. and two South American businesses.

"The message that's sent, I hope, is that the big players in the media cannot treat the little players with arrogance and greed and get away with it," Pollack's lawyer Dennis Holahan told reporters.

The suit stems from Stewart's cancellation of a nine-stop South and Central American tour that had been due to kick off on February 23, 2002, after he accepted the initial deposit on his 2.1 million dollar fee.

Under the contract -- which Pollack never signed but said via e-mail that he would sign -- Stewart was to be paid in advance in two installments in January and February of 2002.

But the payments were late and Stewart and his associates cancelled the tour and kept the deposit, saying he was entitled to compensation for work that he could have booked during the period of the abortive concerts.

"As far as I'm concerned, a deal is a deal," the singer, famed for mega-hits including "Maggie May," "Do ya think I'm sexy?" and "Tonight I'm yours," told the court last month.

But the jury did not agree with him.

Stewart's lawyer Skip Miller said he was confident that the verdict would be overturned either on post-trial motions or on appeal. "I think the jury just missed the boat, quite frankly," he said.

Miller said he was shocked by 1.6 million dollar award against "a lawyer and an agent who were merely doing their jobs.

"There's not a shred of evidence that they were doing anything else, so that's very surprising to me and shocking to me, quite frankly. And I intend to get that overturned if it's the last thing I ever do. You can count on that," he added. LOS ANGELES (AFP)

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November 17, 2004

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