Wednesday, August 10

Not Just a Traffic Circle on the Way to Rehoboth

I don't believe there's an intersection called State & Main in Georgetown, Delaware, but the small-town seat of Sussex County has experienced that same sense of invasion by Hollywood moguls of late. That's because the local courthouse has been hosting one of the biggest shareholder lawsuits in recent memory, a high-stakes battle against the Disney board of directors, for having approved a massive severance package for CEO Michael Ovitz, a one-time friend of Chairman Michael Eisner. For months, the sleepy ville was the site of fevered attention from the legal and business community. Explained the LATimes,

Set in Delaware, where Disney is incorporated, the three-month trial last year attracted scores of national media to the tiny, 5,000-person community ... where [Chancellor William] Chandler hears cases. In Hollywood, the trial's webcast turned into popular entertainment, showcasing one of the most embarrassing episodes in the careers of two men who were once among the industry's most powerful and feared executives.
And now, the tiny waypost on the road to the mid-Atlantic's gay beach can return to normal, as the judge finally rendered his decision yesterday -- refusing to hold outside directors liable for a hasty decision to approve a contract providing $140 million in severance (triggered when Ovitz left after just over a year on the job). From here, the action on any appeal now moves to Wilmington.