Monday, October 17, 2016

Anti-Poaching Suit's Latest Wrinkle

Deadline informs interested parties:

Disney Last ‘Toon Giant Standing As DreamWorks Animation Offers $50M Settlement In Anti-Poaching Suit

With DreamWorks Animation reaching a multi-million deal today , it is now really just Disney who haven’t settled with animation workers in the long running class action suit over over wage-fixing and anti-poaching allegations. On Monday, the now NBCUniversal owned home of the How To Train Your Dragon franchise filed paperwork to start ending its part in the over two-year long action with a proposed $50 million settlement – up to 30% of which could end up going to lawyers.

“The settlement here was reached after arm’s length negotiations, drawing on the expertise of informed, experienced counsel who have been deeply involved in this litigation since its inception, and it reflects the risks associated with both parties continuing to litigate this case,” said the motion for preliminary approval put forth in federal court in San Jose Monday (read it here). “In particular, counsel have been informed and guided by the rulings and settlement valuations deemed fair and reasonable in both this action and the High-Tech litigation,” the 16-page document from lawyers for original plaintiffs Robert Nitsch Jr., David Wentworth and Georgia Cano added.”

A January 19, 2017 hearing has been penciled in for Judge Lucy Koh’s courtroom on the motion, which essentially covers animation workers who were at the ‘toon studios from around 2004 to 2010. ...

We assume here that Universal-Comcast reached a settlement because they want to make this wage-suppression lawsuit history. And we guess that Disney continues to foot-drag because some Diz Co. execs are fully in favor of foot-dragging.

This suits has been percolating for a while. The studios' earlier strategy appeared to be an argument of untimeliness ("The plaintiffs knew about this early-on your honor ... and sorry, but they've hit the statute of limitations" ...)

The Animation Guild was only marginally involved in this suit, referring possible plaintiffs to the involved law firms and hosting a lawyer to explain what the class action was about at a General Membership meeting in July 2014.

And one more wage suppression post here.


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