Bill Nye is now entitled to take limited claims against The Walt Disney Company to court. On Wednesday, a Los Angeles Superior Court issued an order that sets up the trial, now listed for May 2020.
In Nye’s fourth revised complaint, he estimates $28 million in costs from the way that Disney allegedly shortchanged him on earnings from his 1990s television show Bill Nye the Science Guy. He’s also trying punitive damages resulting from how Disney has “a long and regular pattern of underreporting income and improperly applying deductions.”
Disney moved to get the case down to an accounting representation and an understanding of the contract. In a motion for summary adjudication, the defendant raised the incontestability provision of the contract and argued that Nye had doubts early on and waited too long to object to participation statements. Nye answered that the quarterly profit statements that he received from a Disney subsidiary didn’t have the needed detail and that he was cannot decipher whether they were complete and correct. Nye also disputed that Disney persuaded him to spend time, money and other resources on an audit under the false promise he’d be presented with access to the necessary records.
L.A Superior Court Judge Dalila Lyons has awarded summary judgment to Disney with regard to participation statements issued before January 8, 2011.
Although the order lacks all the details, that’s exactly three years before Nye formally demanded an audit. Due to a purported excess of audits, Disney told Nye he’d have to wait for three or four years before the audit started.
Nye will move forward on the more recent support statements — and the judge also denies Disney’s bid to rule out punitive damages.
Disney does succeed to score other wins, however, escaping the claim that it breached any fiduciary duty toward Nye.
A 10-day trial is currently expected, though, given the new ruling, that could be improved.