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Katzenberg, Mouse have date in court

A November trial date has been set for former Disney studio chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg’s $250 million breach-of-contract suit against the company.

On Wednesday, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge John Ouderkirk scheduled a status conference for Nov. 13 and a trial date of Nov. 18.

Katzenberg, who left Disney in 1994 after being passed over for a promotion to president of the Walt Disney Co. by chairman and former longtime friend Michael Eisner, is seeking $250 million from his former employer.

In a suit filed April 9 of last year, Katzenberg claimed he was entitled to a portion of the studio’s profits from blockbusters such as “Beauty and the Beast” and “The Lion King.”

Disney responded to the claim last May, asserting that Katzenberg had forfeited bonuses linked to revenues under the terms of an early-termination clause in his 1988 contract.

The two sides reportedly made an unsuccesful effort to settle the dispute out of court last summer.

“I’m delighted that we have a trial date, and I’m looking forward to going to court,” said Katzenberg’s attorney, Bert Fields. “I do not believe this will be settled beforehand.”

Disney spokesman John Dreyer said the company has been preparing to try the case and would continue to do so. “There will now be an opportunity for the facts to be heard in public in a neutral court of law, and not subject to the plaintiff’s lawyer’s spin-doctoring.”

A few months after exiting Disney, Katzenberg founded DreamWorks SKG with David Geffen and Steven Spielberg.

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