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Issue: Animation - Jun 16, 2003

WILL VINTON SUES BOARD MEMBERS OF VINTON STUDIOS

PORTLAND - Will Vinton, who was fired last month from his eponymous studio, is now suing five board members, including Nike chief executive Phil Knight, according to The Oregonian.

According to the newspaper report, Vinton claims he was unfairly forced out of the company he founded 27 years ago with insufficient compensation. He seeks $3.1 million in damages sighting lost wages, bonuses, benefits and devaluation of his stock in the studio.

The firing of Vinton, along with four other employees, came less than six months after Knight became a majority shareholder and board member. Knight has owned a minority share of the studio since 1998.

Vinton officials stated that the decision was part of a larger restructuring of the company and noted that Vinton Studios will be more aggressively targeting more feature film work. Vinton Studios has begun production on the stop motion animation feature "The Corpse Bride," directed by Tim Burton for Warner Bros.