Singer Prince settles lawsuit over axed Dublin gig

By Shawn Pogatchnik
Associated Press Writer / February 26, 2010

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DUBLIN—Lawyers for U.S. pop singer Prince agreed Friday to pay substantial damages for his unexplained cancellation of a 2008 concert in Ireland's largest stadium.

Prince, 51, did not appear during the four-day hearing in Dublin High Court.

But evidence presented by Dublin concert promoters MCD Productions Ltd. -- which sued Prince for euro1.7 million ($2.3 million) alleging breach of contract -- demonstrated he had committed to perform in the 82,300-seat Croke Park in June 2008, only to withdraw without explanation 10 days beforehand after 55,000 tickets were sold.

Lawyers for both sides announced an out-of-court settlement Friday. Neither side disclosed the figures involved.

But MCD owner Denis Desmond suggested outside the courthouse that the settlement easily topped euro1 million ($1.35 million) because his company would not be "out of pocket" once Prince paid up.

MCD, Ireland's biggest concert organizers, paid euro700,000 to book Croke Park for the night, advertised the concert aggressively and refunded all 55,000 tickets.

Desmond also poked fun at Prince's reported quote, relayed Thursday by his former William Morris agent Marc Geiger, that he expected Desmond to take the concert's collapse in stride.

"Tell the cat to chill. We will work something out," Geiger quoted Prince as saying during a rare face-to-face meeting on June 3, 2008.

"This cat's very chilled," Desmond said Friday with a broad smile.

Geiger had testified that Prince was "one of the least clear" clients he had ever experienced during a 20-year agent's career, particularly because he shunned direct communication, instead conveying messages through an assistant if at all.

He said Prince was offered $22 million to perform in Dublin and at six other unspecified European venues.

Dublin High Court Justice Peter Kelly suggested that, just as in 2008, Prince might be giving others the impression that he had confirmed out-of-court settlement terms but would renege later on the deal.

Kelly asked if "the word 'confirmed' in Prince-speak means the same as it means in English?"

Prince's lawyer, Paul Sreenan, said it did.