I know the Walt Disney Company has a lot of money, but that does not make today's news any easier for them to take. The largest verdict in a profits case in Hollywood history will remain so, as the case was upheld on appeal by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeal.
The court denied Disney's request for a new trial of its $319 million loss to the producer of the 'Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?' The three-judge panel upheld the ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Virginia Phillips, which was handed down in 2010. Unless the Supreme Court steps in, the ruling will stand as delivered.
Celador, a U.K.-based company, filed the suit against ABC and its affiliates for failing to include ABC's profits when figuring out the profit participation owed their way, as well as improper expense deductions. The trial lasted five weeks and saw Celador awarded $270 million for the breach and $50 million in interest charges.
"What the court of appeal did today validates what a careful and thoughtful trial judge and a quite attentive jury did two years ago," Celador lead litigator Roman Silberfeld said. "We're pleased for the client."
Disney was not so happy, as a rep said that "We are extremely disappointed with the decision, as ABC and Buena Vista Television continue to believe that they fully adhered to the Millionaire agreement."
"Although the Disney affiliates advanced a persuasive case at oral argument for their interpretation of the contract, Celador’s reading is also plausible," the appeal panel dictated.