US court rules against Disney in Celador case

Michael Bow
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WHO Wants to Be a Millionaire? producer Celador International yesterday cleared another legal hurdle in its bid to get US media giant Walt Disney to pay damages in a long running legal dispute over broadcast fees.

A US circuit court yesterday threw out an appeal by Walt Disney against a 2010 jury decision backing the gameshow producer, but lowered the figure for damages of $395m originally awarded to $269.4m in damages and $50m in prejudgment interest – a $319m windfall.

Disney now has 14 days to file an appeal against the decision. It still has a further three courts to refer to, including the US Supreme Court, which could drag the case out for another two years.

London-listed media facilities company Avesco, which owned part of Celador at the time, yesterday said it was in line to receive a $60m windfall from the compensation pot.

Celador chairman Paul Smith welcomed the news. He told City A.M.: “We’ve got over another hurdle in the race. When the finish is going to be, we still don’t know.” He added the firm welcomed the fact that the courts made it clear the firm has been “mistreated badly” by Disney.

The decision stretches back to 2010 when a jury said Celador should be awarded damages. Disney appealed agains the decision. United States Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday dismissed the appeal.