September 26, 2007, 9:05 am Court Pooh-Poohs Plaintiff’s Argument in Disney Dispute
Posted by Peter Lattman
It never ceases to amaze the Law Blog how long litigation disputes can take in this great nation. Exhibit A: Sixteen years after it was initially sued, Disney won an appeals court ruling in a battle over hundreds of millions of dollars in royalties for Pooh products. Here’s the 54-page opinion
, and a Bloomberg story
A California appeals court in L.A. affirmed yesterday a 2004 trial judge’s decision to throw out a 1991 lawsuit by Stephen Slesinger, who acquired the rights to Pooh from author A.A. Milne back in 1930. The trial-court judge dismissed lawsuit after concluding that Slesinger’s company “tampered with the administration of justice” by hiring a PI who stole thousand of pages of Disney documents, including some company trash cans.
The appeals court said it was cool with the trial judge’s decision to do that. “When a plaintiff’s deliberate and egregious misconduct makes any sanction other than dismissal inadequate to ensure a fair trial, the trial court has inherent power to impose a terminating sanction,” wrote the court.
Disney’s lawyer? O’Melveny’s Dan Petrocelli
, of Enron fame (click here
for Law Blog Background). Disney “is obviously extremely pleased and gratified that there’s now a definite and final decision putting this case to rest once and for all.” Representing the plaintiffs is Steven Mayer
at Howard Rice. Not quite, Dan. A Slesinger spokeswoman says the company will appeal the ruling to the California Supreme Court, and it’s also pursuing counterclaims in a related federal court case. Permalink
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