According to the Courthouse News Service, Christine P. Wuennenberg, mother of the cast member killed in an accident involving two of Walt Disney World’s monorail trains in July, has filed a wrongful death claim in Orange County Court.
The claim asserts that Disney was aware of the dangers of the functions being performed at the time and deliberately ignored safety procedures enacted by Disney itself as well as disobeyed explicit warnings included in the operations manual provided by the manufacturer.
According to the complaint, Disney commonly forced pilots to disregard the guide, “as it did not want to keep customers waiting, which would impact the ability for Walt Disney to maximize profits.”
The complaint also goes to mention that a monorail coordinator was supposed to be stationed at the command center to direct and visually confirm monorail traffic, but on the night of the collision he was at a restaurant, and was “falsely reporting via two-way radio … that they were receiving visual confirmation … thereby misleading the monorail operators into believing that it was safe and appropriate” to reverse the monorail onto the other line.”
You know him by sight if not by name, he is Luxo Jr., the official mascot of Pixar Animation Studios. The squisher of the I in Pixar before every film, he and the ‘Luxo Jr. Ball’ are the stars of Pixar’s first animated short over 20 years ago. He has become such an icon, that he is quite literally an icon, looming over Pixar Studios in Emeryville. He has also now become the latest entity on the line of Disney’s Living Character Initiative (LCI), appearing in full animatronic form at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. He’s also the prized collectible in a Pixar boxed Blu-ray set to be released just in time for the holiday season.
And therein lies the problem. Luxo is a a real company and the Luxo Jr. was inspired by John Lasseter’s own lamp. Although his name is really only known by the more diehard of fans, it’s now being used to promote these new incarnations of the studios mascot and there-in lies the problem for Norway-based Luxo AS.
In a complaint filed in New York City (Luxo AS vs. Walt Disney Co., 09-cv-7689), Luxo claims that sales of the Luxo Jr. collectible will ‘confuse customers and “cause devastating damage to Luxo and dilute the goodwill which Luxo has built up” by selling high- quality lamps,’ according to a report from Bloomberg News.
Will this hurt the commercialization of Luxo Jr.? Doubtful, although expect it to set Disney back a few bucks. It seems pretty evident that Luxo (and perhaps rightfully so) is a bit miffed that their own legendary product will be used to make money for someone else, so I’d look forward to either a settlement or a full blown court case that could see some heavy penalties in terms of restitution.
Earlier this year, we reported on a lawsuit via TMZ in which Burbank resident Dennis Jackson claimed that the air conditioning system used by Disney at its headquarters in Burbank was using contaminated water and not only was releasing toxic vapors into the air but potentially contaminated drinking water as well.
Now, environmental watchdog group Environmental World Watch Inc. has filed suit alleging that Disney has been dumping the water contaminated with toxins such as chromium 6 for more than twenty years and that the water has contaminated a parcel of land known as the Polliwog after flowing down several streets.
On Thursday, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) confirmed that it is now investigating the Polliwog site.
TMZ is reporting on a lawsuit filed against Disney in Los Angeles today citing that Disney’s headquarters in Burbank has forced residents to live in ‘terror of emissions’ and has resulted in the death of Louise Jackson. Report here.
The Am Law Daily is reporting that Celador International, who produced Slumdog Millionaire as well as created the Who Wants to Be A Millionaire? game show itself has filed suit against Disney in Los Angeles, claiming Disney has cut the company off from potential revenue by keeping many dealings in-house within the Walt Disney Company.
TMZ is reporting that Richard Fronduto filed a lawsuit today in L.A. County Superior Court, claiming he wrote a script in 1990 initally called “The Secret Life of Sindi” which was pitched to and well received by Disney and could be the real origins to Hannah Montana.