- (Photo: Reuters/File)
The Walt Disney Company has lost its appeal in the court decision that awarded more than a quarter of a billion dollars to the creator of the hit television show "Who Wants to be a Millionaire."
The ruling was filed Monday by three U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals judges and ruled against ABC, Buena Vista Television and Valleycrest Productions, after lawyers for the Disney affiliates argued that a previous judgment was wrong while also seeking a new trial.
This legal drama started in 2010 when the show's creators, Celador International, Inc. received a judgment of just over $319 million, supporting claims that they were the victims of shady practices by Disney and its affiliates.
"What the court of appeal did today validates what a careful and thoughtful trial judge and a quite attentive jury did two years ago … we're pleased for the client," lawyers for Celador International Inc., read in a statement.
Celador had originally filed suit in 2004 when it argued that Disney and its affiliates had organized many deceptive deals that funneled hundreds of millions of dollars in expected revenue away from Celador, Inc. and to Disney.
Disney and its affiliates- ABC, Buena Vista Television, and Valleycrest Productions- filed their appeal in 2010 in an effort to seek a new trial with the understanding that a new panel of judges would rule differently.
Lawyers representing Disney and its affiliates complained in court documents that the U.S. District Court in Central California was guilty of "committed evidentiary, instructional, and other errors."
However, the trio of U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals judges did not find evidence to support such claims and allowed the ruling to stand.
"We are extremely disappointed with the decision, as ABC and Buena Vista Television continue to believe that they fully adhered to the Millionaire agreement," a Disney spokesperson told The Hollywood Reporter.