Ninth Circuit affirms $319 million award for GMSR’s client

Celador International, Inc. v. American Broadcasting Companies, Inc., et al. (2012) 499 Fed.Appx. 721 (United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit) [unpublished]. GMSR’s client Celador International licensed its mega-hit game show Who Wants To Be A Millionaire to ABC and a subsidiary in exchange for half of the profits. When ABC and the subsidiary reported that there were no profits despite the show’s runaway success, Celador sued for breach of the licensing agreement. A federal jury agreed that defendants had breached the express terms of the agreement and the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, and awarded $269 million in damages (plus an additional $50 million in stipulated prejudgment interest).

The Ninth Circuit affirmed. Rejecting defendants’ smorgasbord of claimed errors, it held that the district court properly allowed the jury to determine the meaning of the licensing agreement, that the trial court did not commit any reversible evidentiary or instructional error, and that the record supported the jury’s award of $269 million in damages. Court backs $319M verdict vs. Disney over “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire”

BBC News: Disney loses appeal as court upholds Millionaire ruling