The U.S. Supreme Court denied a petition Monday to hear an appeal by the Talk Radio Network in a lawsuit brought by host Michael Savage.
The denial of the petition leaves in place the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in July upholding a federal judge’s decision to release Savage from a contract with his former syndicator.
“After many, many years and over a million dollars of legal fees, justice has prevailed, Savage told WND. “TRN has never paid me one dime of the money they were supposed to pay me.”
WND requested comment from TRN but did not receive a response immediately.
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As WND reported, when U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers ruled in Savage’s favor in 2013, Savage’s lawyer, Dan Horowitz, compared it to the case that led to free agency in baseball.
“Michael is to talk radio what Curt Flood was to Major League Baseball,” Horowitz told WND at the time, referring to the player who challenged baseball’s reserve clause, which kept a player bound to his team even after fulfillment of his contract.
“For me, personally, it finalizes a struggle to perform for my audience in an atmosphere of freedom, not working on a ‘radio plantation,'” Savage told WND after the original decision.
In 2013, Rogers, who was appointed by President Obama, affirmed the ruling of an arbitration panel.
Horowitz said in 2013 that Savage’s victory establishes the ability of radio talent to break away from an employer like any other employee.
Radio hosts, he explained, have been bound by restrictive clauses in their contracts that treat them like businesses instead of regular employees. The law, therefore, has allowed the networks to enforce non-compete agreements with radio hosts that would be illegal if applied to individual employees.
Savage filed the suit in December 2010 regarding his contract, alleging the network used “illegal and unenforceable contract provisions” and “other strong-armed tactics” to intimidate him and force him into accepting a “sub-standard agreement.”
In September, as WND reported, the arbitration panel awarded Savage $863,454.92, plus all other money from withheld earnings and permanent ownership of all his archived radio shows.
The decision enabled Savage to sign with Cumulus Media Networks in October, which now airs “The Savage Nation” from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern, Monday through Friday. Cumulus Media calls itself the largest pure-play radio broadcaster in the United States, with approximately 525 stations in 110 markets.
According to the court order, the dispute arose when TRN attempted to exercise a “right to match” provision in an independent contractor agreement with Savage.
Savage asserted TRN failed to exercise its right to match properly, and the dispute was settled by arbitration.
Savage is the author of 31 books, including seven New York Times bestsellers. He was awarded the coveted Freedom of Speech Award by Talkers Magazine and earned his Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley.
His bestsellers include “Government Zero: No Borders, No Language, No Culture”, “Trickle Down Tyranny: Crushing Obama’s Dream of the Socialist States of America,” “Trickle Up Poverty: Stopping Obama’s Attack on Our Borders, Economy, and Security,” “The Savage Nation,” “The Enemy Within,” “Liberalism is a Mental Disorder,” “Political Zoo,” “Psychological Nudity: Savage Radio Stories” and “Banned in Britain.”