Eric Garden reports on a lawsuit from Bill Nye The Science Guy alleging fraud claims from underreported payments from Disney.
Garden expands on the subject:
Nye filed his lawsuit in August. He alleges that he had a deal with Disney’s Buena Vista Television that ultimately entitled him to 16.5 percent of the net profit pool. Nye says that a decade ago, he became suspicious of royalty calculations based on an “accounting error” but had to wait several years to get an audit. He now identifies alleged underreported payments and accuses the defendants of failing to produce license agreements with Netflix and Apple so he can determine what’s really owed.
This might sound like the setup to a typical Hollywood accounting case, but there’s one element here that perhaps transcends the usual into the legal equivalent of quantum physics.
Nye alleges a joint venture relationship with the Disney defendants for the promotion, exploitation, and distribution of Bill Nye the Science Guy. What that means, in the judge’s eyes, is that with one caveat, Nye has properly alleged the existence of a fiduciary relationship.
It’s a notable development, as Nye is certainly not the first profit participant in the entertainment industry to ever assert fiduciary duties in regard to accounting. Most famously (at least among insiders), Gary Wolf, who authored the book that was turned into Who Framed Roger Rabbit, once lost a claim that Disney breached fiduciary duties when a judge determined that contingent entitlement to future compensation does not alone give rise to such a fiduciary relationship.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter