San Fernando Valley Business Journal

Disney Pollution Suit Dismissed

By Mark Madler Tuesday, August 13, 2013

A Los Angeles federal judge has dismissed a $1 billion environmental lawsuit claiming the Walt Disney Co. had dumped toxins at its Burbank studio that flowed onto storm drains of the adjacent neighborhood.

U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee ruled the lawsuit had no legal basis and ordered the plaintiffs to pay the legal fees of the entertainment and media conglomerate. They ruling was issued Aug. 9 but was first reported Monday evening.

The lawsuit is just one of several filed against Disney by William Dunlap, Doris Nichols and their related companies: RBC Four Co., a realty firm, and Environmental World Watch Inc. Neither company is actively in business, according to records from the California Secretary of State’s office.

In her ruling, Gee noted that other lawsuits alleging Disney polluted the groundwater that had already been dismissed.

“The long history of plaintiffs’ litigation efforts against Disney is strong evidence that counsel knew that the claims asserted in the complaint had already been dismissed by other courts and were not likely to succeed,” the ruling said.

The environmental lawsuits date back to 2005 and allege that Disney knew about toxic chemicals getting into the groundwater and the company made false statements to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency about the pollution.

Disney has maintained it released no toxic chemicals from its studio or concealed information.

Shares gained 5 cents, or a fraction of a percent, to $63.98 on the New York Stock Exchange.