Roy Disney vs Corporate Disney Case to Go to Trial

07 June 2005

The great Walt's litigious nephew, Roy E Disney, now in his seventy-sixth year, has received the green light from a Delaware court judge to pursue his case against the Walt Disney Company.

Roy Disney, a substantial shareholder and former director of the company, is partnered in the action by his financial advisor and fellow stockholder Stanley P Gold, also a quondam director of the Mouse House.

The two men have pursued a long-running battle against Disney chief executive Michael D Eisner whose allegedly autocratic management style they claim has harmed the company and its stock market valuation.

Their current lawsuit seeks to invalidate the company's recent appointment of Disney president Robert A Iger as chief executive designate.

Iger is scheduled to replace Eisner when he 'retires' on October 1 - a less than voluntary exit, orchestrated in no small part by Disney and Gold. They see Iger as Eisner's nominee and accuse the Disney board of conducting a sham search for the latter's successor.

In the hearing conducted by Chancellor William Chandler III of the Delaware Chancery Court, the company argued there was no case to answer and sought to have it dismissed [WAMN: 03-Jun-05].

On Monday Chancellor Chandler rejected that argument and set an August date for the trial.

Meantime, he will doubtless be pondering his verdict on the equally thorny saga of the Magic Kingdom's hiring and subsequent costly ($140m) firing of a previous Disney president, Michael S Ovitz. This case too was brought by the dissident duo.

Data sourced from New York Times; additional content by WARC staff