A Los Angeles Judge has thrown out a Winnie The Pooh lawsuit accusing the
Walt Disney company of failing to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in
royalties - due to the tampering of evidence.
Judge CHARLES MCCOY JR. has dismissed the case - after finding the
accusers systematically stole and altered Disney documents to gain an advantage
McCoy says, "STEPHEN SLESINGER INC's (SSI) willingness to tamper with and
even corrupt the litigation process constitutes a substantial threat to the
integrity of the judicial process - a threat requiring decisive, effective and
to fully protect the institution of justice, its processes and its litigants
from future abuse."
The plaintiffs - PATI SLESINGER and her mother SHIRLEY SLESINGER LASSWELL
- claims they were underpaid on some Pooh royalties and excluded out of other
lucrative markets. SSI - who initiated the case 13 years ago - hold the North
merchandising rights that Stephen Slesinger bought from Pooh author A.A. MILNE
The dismissal with prejudice means the plaintiffs cannot sue again on the
Disney attorney DANIEL PETROCELLI of O'MELVENY + MYERS comments, "After
more than a decade of litigation in the courts, the Winnie the Pooh case is at
long last over, and over for good.
"Disney's position was vindicated in its entirety, and the court's
decision was the only appropriate thing in these circumstances."
The plaintiffs have vowed to appeal. SSI'S attorney JOHNNIE COCHRAN JR.
says, "This has not removed Disney's ongoing obligation to pay royalties to the
Slesingers or remedy its unauthorized uses of Pooh.
"What is the garbage documents is that Disney committed fraud, and the
judge has thrown out the baby with the bath water."