Court Hawk
Bill Nye backstage wearing a bowtie

Judge Rules Disney Can be Sued by “Bill Nye the Science Guy”

Bill Nye is seeking $28 million in damages from Disney, accusing the multi-billion dollar company of withholding his share of revenue from the 1990s popular children’s program bearing his name. Los Angeles Court Judge Dalila Lyons has recently granted Nye the ability to make this happen.

Lawsuit Filed Against Disney in 2017

Buena Vista, a subsidiary of Disney television, entered into an agreement with Nye in March 1993 to sell his children’s science program to local channels. As part of the deal, Nye was to receive 33% of the show owners’ cut of 50%.

Around April of 2008, Buena Vista delivered Nye a payment worth $585,123. Three months later, Nye received another letter from the company in which they retracted the payment and notified him that he actually owed them $496,111. Buena Vista also informed Nye that he wouldn’t receive any future royalty payments until he returned the money.

The attorneys originally filed the lawsuit because Nye believed that Disney was avoiding the professional audit of Buena Vista’s statements that he had been battling for over four years. Although Disney started to cooperate halfway through 2016, the company still held back numerous documents.

Limited Claims Pursuit of Disney

Although Judge Lyons allowed Nye to proceed with his claims, she put significant limits on the case. Nye’s attorneys from Hamrick & Evans law firm were none too pleased:

“While we are disappointed with the Court’s ruling yesterday and the flawed legal reasoning upon which it relied, we welcome the opportunity to litigate the remainder of our clients’ case at trial,” attorneys commented. “More importantly, it is our hope that this case, which Disney has fought so hard to stall, will finally shine some light upon the improper accounting practices that Disney utilizes to unjustly deprive profit participants… of their fair share of revenues.”

Nye’s auditor was able to identify approximately $9 million of underreported royalty payments after combing through the limited amount of documents provided by the Disney Corporation.

Disney Faced With Two Additional Lawsuits

The Walt Disney Company is also facing two other major class-action lawsuits from its employees. Workers have filed complaints of gender-based pay discrimination against females as well as a suit focused on pay equity. On Wednesday, the court rejected Disney’s request to block the unequal pay lawsuit.

The pay equity lawsuit claims that Disney has failed to pay its workers the required $15 an hour limit mandated by “Measure L,” which states that “any hospitality business located in Anaheim’s resort district… must pay workers a minimum of $15 an hour,” according to Fox News.