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Disney Loses Appeal in $319 million Who Wants to Be a Millionaire Case

Date December 03, 2012

LOS ANGELES (TheWrap.com) - The Walt Disney Company has lost its bid for a new trial in its legal saga with the creators of the game show "Who Wants to Be A Millionaire?" who won a $319 million award against the company in 2010.

In a ruling filed on Monday, a trio of U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals judges shot down ABC, Buena Vista Television and Valleycrest Productions, after those companies (referred to as "the Disney affiliates" in the ruling) sought to appeal an earlier order denying their motion for judgment as a matter of law, and for a new trial in the matter.

In 2010, "Millionaire" creators Celador International, Inc. received a judgment of just over $269 million, and the company later received another $50 million after Judge Virginia Phillips awarded prejudgment interest to the British company.

Celador, which initially filed suit in 2004, had argued that Disney and its affiliates ABC, Buena Vista Television and Valleycrest Production set up numerous shady deals and on-the-sly arrangements that robbed Celador of hundreds of millions in expected revenues.

Disney lost a bid to overturn the jury's verdict in December 2010, but argued in its motion in the 9th Circuit that the U.S. District Court in Central California had "committed evidentiary, instructional and other errors."

The 9th Circuit judges disagreed, upholding the award.

A spokeswoman for ABC did not respond to TheWrap's request for comment.

(Pamela Chelin contributed to this report)

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