A judge threw out a lawsuit against the Walt Disney Co. claiming unpaid royalties for use of Winnie the Pooh characters, after finding the plaintiff “tampered with the administration of justice” by unlawfully obtaining Disney documents in the case.
The ruling Monday by Superior Court Judge Charles W. McCoy Jr. came in response to a motion to dismiss by Disney, which alleged Pooh rights owner Stephen Slesinger Inc. had withheld, stolen and possibly manufactured documents in the long-running case.
McCoy sided with Disney, calling SSI’s actions “egregious and inexcusable.”
“After 13 years in the courts, the Winnie the Pooh case is finally over,” said Daniel Petrocelli, attorney for the Walt Disney Co. “Disney’s position has been vindicated in its entirety. We’re obviously extremely pleased with the outcome and we think it was the only appropriate one.”
SSI spokesman Lonnie Soury said he had not yet seen the ruling, but added that the company would appeal.
SSI sued Disney in 1991, claiming the company owes millions of dollars for Pooh-related merchandise and has not paid royalties on the sale of videotapes, DVDs and computer software.
Disney claimed those items were not covered in its agreement.