From Cartoon Brew:
On September 29, 2015, Disney stockholder Eugene F. Towers filed a lawsuit against key Disney executives, including Walt Disney Studios president Alan Bergman, Walt Disney Animation Studios president Ed Catmull, and Disney COO Thomas Staggs, as well as individual members of the company’s board of directors (pictured above), including chairman and CEO Robert Iger, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, and former Starbucks CEO Orin Smith. The lawsuit had been under seal due to the inclusion of confidential information obtained by Towers, and portions of the complaint (which can be read here) remain redacted.
The lawsuit recounts the claims and evidence in the earlier lawsuit — from the alleged conspiracy’s beginnings in the mid-1980s, when George Lucas sold Pixar to Steve Jobs, and Lucas and Catmull agreed thereafter not to compete for the skilled labor of artists and technicians — to the broadening of the conspiracy, to include Disney, DreamWorks, ImageMovers, Blue Sky, and Sony, as well as Department of Justice investigations into the hiring practices of the studios and tech companies, including Google, Apple, Intel, and Adobe Systems.
Towers’ suit alleges that the Disney board of directors knew of the conspiracy alleged in the related lawsuit, and “actively concealed and ensured the secrecy of the conspiracy.” Because the board members filed financial statements and certifications, and “signed each of the Company’s annual reports filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission,” they are alleged to be guilty of signing “and/or certif[ying] false and misleading statements.”
Because of their positions and influence, directors have duties of loyalty and candor, and must “exercise good faith to ensure the Company” operates honestly and complies with all federal and state laws and regulations. The suit points out that Disney’s Standards of Business Conduct specifically called out antitrust laws the related lawsuit alleges were violated, stating, “Antitrust laws…prohibit agreements that unreasonably restrict competition. Don’t enter into any agreement or understanding, whether formal or informal, with a competitor to set prices.”
This is very…damning to say the least.
Theres more. Stay Tuned.