Suing Howard

Howardstern Looking at CBS Radio's case against Howard Stern, UCLA corporate law professor Stephen Bainbridge writes that the now-celestial shock jocker may have talked himself into some serious legal trouble.

The network is suing Stern for breach of contract and misappropriation, contending that during the months he was waiting to start his show on Sirius Satellite Radio, he essentially used CBS's airtime for his own financial benefit, by boosting the value of his Sirius stock. The suit also contends Stern broke the law by getting his sidekicks to make the jump from terrestrial radio with him.

The Doylestown-born Bainbridge writes in TCD Daily:

To the extent Stern induces the sidekicks to break their own employment contracts, there clearly would be a problem. In addition, courts are much less forgiving of employee solicitation when the solicitor has a supervisory role vis-Ã -vis those who are solicited. On the whole, however, this strikes me as a much less clear cut case than the problem of soliciting customers of terrestrial radio to shift to satellite.

On that latter issue, however, the question may be: why did CBS wait so long? My guess is that they didn't want to offend Stern's fans, but once so many of those fans followed Stern to Sirius and Stern's terrestrial radio replacements bombed, CBS no longer had anything to lose.

Posted 03/02/2006 08:15:00 AM

Not a fan of either Stern or CBS. But I would guess that CBS will not prevail in their lawsuit (although Stern will never have the audience he used to have - so they will win in the end). While Stern was employed at CBS they had the power to discipline him, including fire him for the behaviour they now claim he engaged in. If he violated his contract or acted in a way harmful to CBS - why didn't they fire him then? If they didn't sanction him them, didn't he have every right to think that he was doing the job they paid him to do?

Posted 03/02/2006 10:11:34 AM

I blogged about this today too. Amazing story. This is a revenge lawsuit, plain and say they were unaware that Stern might be using his airtime to sell satellie radios sounds a bit silly.

Tacony Lou
Posted 03/02/2006 10:14:54 AM

If CBS wanted to blow good money on litigating, it would have been better spent, and a lot more interesting, to champion Stern's cause against the FCC. In the interim, they could have been banking all the revenue Stern draws while winning plaudits for defending their right to air aural pornography to help start your day.

Posted 03/02/2006 10:14:58 AM

plus, they raked in the bucks during his final weeks and then turn around and say they were hurt...sure they were but Stern was well within his rights to sign a contract with Sirius effective the moment his Infinity contract was up.

Posted 03/02/2006 03:33:27 PM

I beg to differ. Although I was a faithful Stern listener (I had a friend make tapes of Stern and send them to me when I was living in Berlin, Germany) I draw the line at the accelleration of his stock payments. If his hype of Sirius had been only to recruit listeners so his new show took off, I might be more sympathetic, but he was using CBS airwaves for personal profit. He had an exclusive contract with Infinity, and his on-air selling of Sirius breached that contract.

rent a car
Posted 05/16/2009 06:20:42 AM