Garth Brooks appeared in an Oklahoma court on Tuesday as jurors were selected to hear his claim that an Oklahoma hospital refused to name a building for his late mother, Colleen Brooks, after he donated $500,000, reports the Associated Press. Garth claims he made the donation to Integris Canadian Valley Regional Hospital in Yukon because he believed part of the building would be named after his mother. He is suing to have the money returned.
Integris says the donation was unconditional and they have done nothing wrong by not naming a building after Colleen. “Unfortunately, talks broke down or did not continue or Mr. Brooks was not satisfied with the options we were offering, and that’s when he decided to sue,” hospital spokesman Hardy Watkins said.
Garth and wife Trisha Yearwood were on hand as jurors were selected. With Garth’s superstar status, the jury had to be selected carefully. Integris lawyer Terry Thomas, who said he was a pop music fan, asked potential jurors if they were able to separate Garth from his celebrity status.
“If Mr. Paul McCartney or a Mr. Brian Wilson were sitting there, I couldn’t sit there, I just couldn’t,” he told the jurors. “That’s what we’re looking for here. If you’re just not going to be able to determine that Mr. Brooks (is wrong), I need to know at this point.”
None of the jurors were removed from consideration. Twelve jurors were sworn in, with plans to pick an alternate. Integris says they have had several discussions with Garth about naming options, including for a women’s center and renaming the hospital itself. The money donated by Garth remains unspent in a hospital account. Opening statements began Wednesday.