Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

No Contract Misrepresentation in McCains' Firing, Station Says

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

No Contract Misrepresentation in McCains' Firing, Station Says

Article excerpt

KOCO argues terminating the McCain brothers in 1994 did not result in contract misrepresentation, according to the response the television station filed in Oklahoma County District Court.

KOCO's answer is in response to the McCains' lawsuit filed on July 3, in which the television personalities -- known for their toothy, homespun delivery of news and feature stories -- claimed they were wrongfully terminated from KOCO-TV in August 1994, a year before their contract expired.

"We had a great deal going," said Ben McCain. "If they wanted to let us go, fine, but pay us," said Butch McCain. "We're two guys who grew up on a farm. We feel like we're going up against Goliath with this lawsuit against Gannett," said Ben McCain. 5-Alive News, now simply 5-News, is owned by Gannett Co. Inc. "We were the highest rated show at the time on Channel 5. We had a real following," said Ben McCain. Attorney for the McCains, Mark Hammons, believes his clients are entitled to the last year of pay on the contract -- $91,282 each, damages for emotional distress, consequential damages incurred from their move out of the Oklahoma City area to find work and possible punitive damages. Hammons maintains the brothers' termination was unlawful because KOCO orally told the brothers that their contract was the same as previous contracts, except for adjustments in salary and an absence of a hair styling allowance, when in fact the contract they signed had a new provision that allowed KOCO to terminate them with 60 days' notice. Hammons says Butch and Ben did not read the contract in question before they signed it because of the assurances of Tom Kirby, KOCO's general manager at the time. "They (the McCains) said, `Is there anything different?' and they were told "No," said Hammons. The brothers say they have an affidavit from Kirby that verifies his representations to them. Hammons argues that though the general rule is that agreements that have been reduced to writing are those by which the parties are bound, an exception occurs when a representation is made that the written contract says one thing when it actually says another. …

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