Ted Nugent didn’t get any love from the Michigan Court of Appeals October 19th when it upheld a lower court’s original ruling to dismiss all but one allegation in lawsuits the Motor City Madman filed against the Muskegon Summer Celebration.
Nugent and his band sued the MSC festival for libel, slander, breach of contract, "detrimental reliance," unfair competition and unjust enrichment after the MSC canceled a 2003 concert after the Nuge used a slur offensive to African Americans during a radio interview.
Comments from the radio interview on KRFX-FM were published in the Muskegon Chronicle along with quotes from individuals who thought what Nugent had to say was racially offensive.
Following the Chronicle article, a news release announcing the show’s cancellation said that "any use of potentially offensive racial terms such as those attributed to Ted Nugent do not reflect the spirit of Muskegon nor the Summer Celebration." The 2003 festival featured Boston, Blues Traveler, 3 Doors Down, and Our Lady Peace among the headliners.
Nugent testified during the trial that he used the slur when quoting a compliment given to him as a teenager by an African American Motown musician in reference to his guitar skills.
A Muskegon County Circuit Court judge dismissed all allegations except breach of contract, which a jury found in Nugent’s favor. The jury awarded the rocker, also known for his pro-hunting views and 2nd Amendment activism, and his band $80,000 for breach of contract and $20,000 in lost merchandise sales.
The trial judge knocked $20,000 off the settlement because if Nugent had played the show, he would have paid his agent and manager 25 percent. The judge also ruled that Nugent, the author of "God, Guns, & Rock ‘N’ Roll," would still have to cover his own legal costs, including transcripts and witness depositions.
Nugent had also appealed his reduced damage award – a decision that was also upheld.