Video game designer-turned-space traveler awarded $28 million by jury

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Video game designer-turned-space traveler awarded $28 million by jury

Fri Jul 30, 2010 @ 11:40AM PST

By Eriq Gardner

Richard_garriott_in_space.JPG Famed video game designer Richard Garriot has just taken one hell of a trip.

Two years ago, the man behind blockbuster role-playing games Ultima and Tabula Rasa spent $30 million of his own money to be a space tourist on a trip to the International Space Station.

He left video game publisher NCSoft and penned an open letter to the gaming community talking about his space dreams. Or so everyone thought. Garriot later claimed the letter was forged and that NCSoft forced him out of a job he had no intention of leaving.

Whether the dismissal was voluntary, as the company claimed, or non-voluntary, as Garriot claimed, became an issue for trial at a Texas federal court. Garriot said his firing meant he was forced to sell 400,000 shares of the company stock at a moment the company's market position was terrible.

A jury has just agreed with Garriot's assessment of what occurred, ordering NCSoft to pay him $28 million, just short of what it cost him to get into outer space. 

NCSoft says it will appeal.

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The Hollywood Reporter, Esq. blog focuses on how the entertainment and media industries are impacted and influenced by the law. It is edited by Matthew Belloni with contributions from veteran legal reporter Eriq Gardner and others. Before joining The Hollywood Reporter, Belloni was a lawyer at an entertainment litigation firm in Los Angeles. He writes a column for THR devoted to entertainment law. Gardner is a New York-based writer and legal journalist. Send tips or comments to Matthew.Belloni@thr.com

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