The singer turns out to "defend my honor" in a case against a local resort

By Todd Peterson
Updated August 24, 2005 08:00 AM

Rod Stewart appeared in a Las Vegas federal courtroom Tuesday in a breach of contract lawsuit filed by a local hotel-casino.

Stewart, who claimed he was on hand to “defend my honor,” is locked in the dispute with The Rio hotel and casino over a scheduled concert in 2000 that was canceled while he recovering from thyroid surgery, the Associated Press reports.

At issue is a $2 million fee paid to Stewart prior to the scuttled show. Harrah’s Entertainment, which owns The Rio, is seeking the return of that money, plus interest and attorney’s fees.

Stephen Morris, an attorney for The Rio, said the company wanted Stewart to uphold his end of the contract, which called for the money to be returned if the singer became ill or was unable to perform for some other reason. “We don’t hold his illness against him,” Morris said in his opening statements.

But Stewart’s lawyer, Louis “Skip” Miller, said that his client had offered to do two performances in order to make up for the show he missed. Miller added that Stewart has performed about 200 shows since May 2000, when two tumors were removed from the British singer’s thyroid, AP reports.

Nearly a year passed before Stewart recovered his voice, Miller said.

According to Morris, The Rio was interested in discussing the possibility of more Stewart performances, but first wanted the $2 million returned. When Stewart refused, the entertainment company pushed ahead with its suit.