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Saturday, July 13, 2024 | Back issues
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‘Hannah Montana’ Creators Sue Disney

LOS ANGELES (CN) - Co-creators of the "Hannah Montana" TV series say Disney owes them bonuses for their work on the lucrative teen franchise, but the media company won't let them look at its accounting records. Disney also fired one of the creators and "blackballed" him from directing any other Disney shows after he testified against the company in a union arbitration hearing, according to the lawsuit in Superior Court.

Plaintiff Richard Correll directed the sitcoms "Full House" and "Family Matters" before joining Walt Disney Pictures to direct "That's So Raven" in 2001. He created "Hannah Montana" in 2005 with co-plaintiff Barry O'Brien and non-party Michael Poryes.

(Poryes filed a similar lawsuit last October, claiming Disney owed him millions of dollars for the "Hannah Montana" franchise.)

In June 2008, Correll, O'Brien and their loan-out companies allegedly tried to audit "Hannah Montana" accounting statements prepared by Disney, ABC Cable Networks Group dba The Disney Channel, Bigwood Films, Fuss Budget Films, Silver Creek Pictures and It's A Laugh Productions.

Correll and O'Brien say the studios acknowledged their right to an audit, but refused to give them access to their books and records.

Correll also claims Disney fired him last November for testifying at an arbitration hearing on behalf of the Writers Guild. Disney allegedly claimed that it fired him and would never hire him again because it wanted to "try out new directors."

Correll and O'Brien say the defendants fired Correll unfairly, breached the parties' contract by refusing to allow the audit, and refused to pay promised contingency bonuses.

They demand $5 million plus punitive damages. Robert Nau with Alexander Nay Lawrence is their attorney.

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