Bill Nye the Science Guy, famous throughout elementary and middle schools alike for his show of the same name, is going to court against another favorite of children: Disney, per THR.
After four amended complaints, Bill Nye has been allowed by an L.A. judge to take limited claims in a suit against The Walt Disney Company. A Los Angeles Superior Court entered an order on Wednesday setting up the trial, which is scheduled for May 2020. The trial is expected to last 10 days.
Nye estimates $28 million in damages from being shortchanged by Disney on profits from the show Bill Nye the Science Guy, which ran for five seasons in the 1990s and was syndicated by Walt Disney Television. Nye is also seeking punitive damages, stating that Disney has “a long and consistent pattern of under-reporting revenue and improperly applying deductions.”
Disney moved to downplay the case’s punitive measures by turning the suit into an accounting spectacle and an interpretation of the contract, raising the incontestability provision of the deal under the argument that Nye had waited too long to object to participation statements, stating he had suspicions much earlier on. Nye responded that the quarterly profit statements he received from a Disney subsidiary were not detailed and could not be interpreted to be complete or accurate. Additionally, Nye argued that Disney induced him to spend money, time and other resources under the false promise that he would be provided with access to the necessary statement records.
L.A. Superior Court Judge Dalila Lyons granted Disney summary of judgment with respect to participation statements issued before January 8, 2011, exactly three years before Nye formally requested an audit. Due to a backlog of audits, Disney informed Nye he would have to wait three or four years before the audit began.
Next steps will see Nye moving forward on the recent participation statements. Lyons has rejected Disney’s bid to rule out punitive damages, but Disney was allowed to evade Nye’s claim that it breached fiduciary duty toward him.
It’s a bad look for Disney to wrong America’s favorite scientist, but whichever way the case goes, it’s a small fraction of the income Disney is set to rake in this year between the launch of its streaming service Disney+ and the upcoming Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.