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Community Digest

Glendale : Laid-Off Worker Sues Disney

June 24, 1993

A Westlake Village man has sued Walt Disney Imagineering for $70,000, claiming the Glendale-based company violated his contract when he was laid off last August.

John R. Gascoigne was hired in February, 1991, to write Disney's technical manuals, including those used to operate shows at EuroDisney, according to the complaint filed Tuesday in Glendale Superior Court.

Gascoigne had been working as an independent contractor for Disney since 1987 and had agreed to give up his own business, Publication Service Co., when then-manager Bill Watkins offered Gascoigne a job at $70,000 a year, including benefits.

The plaintiff's attorney, Lloyd C. Ownbey Jr., said his client thought he had a contract with Disney because it sent him an offer letter in February, 1991. Although terms of employment were not specified in the letter, Ownbey said the layoff process was unfair to Gascoigne because others who were older and closer to retirement age were not laid off.

"No one said his work wasn't any good," Ownbey said. "He was one of the top developers of manuals at the time. . . . He was giving up an active business and sacrificing that to work for Disney."

Disney Imagineering spokesman Tony Hatch declined to comment, saying the company has not been served with the suit.

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