Noted space travel enthusiast and legendary videogame developer Richard Garriott (aka Lord British) can now afford a few more trips into orbit following a $28 million win resulting from a lawsuit brought against former employer NCsoft Corp.
Garriott was issued stock options (valid through May 30, 2011) when NCsoft bought his company Destination Games in 2001. A clause, however, dictated that the options would expire in the event he voluntarily left the company.
A news release from Garriott’s attorney firm Fish & Richardson claims that Garriott took a leave of absence in order to travel aboard the Russian Soyuz spacecraft to the International Space Station. During his post-flight quarantine, however, “Garriott was informed by NCsoft that his time with the company was over.” NCsoft argued that his termination was a voluntary resignation.
Garriott’s attorneys wrote that, “Because NCsoft mischaracterized his termination as voluntary, Mr. Garriott was forced to sell his stock options 2 1/2 years early, costing him millions of dollars. Jurors found NCsoft liable for breaching the stock option agreement with Mr. Garriott, and awarded him $28 million in damages.”