Sony to settle plaintiffs in animation wage litigation
May 06, 2016 12:55 AM EDT
Sony Pictures has reached a settlement deal with the opponents, who accused the company of making secret contracts with other studios to limit wages and halt hiring of animation staffs. The studio has agreed to pay a settlement fine of $13 million to those plaintiffs. With regard to this agreement, the studio has also agreed to submit the documents that will help the case against DreamWorks Animation and Disney.
Sony Pictures along with DreamWorks Animation and Walt Disney's subsidiaries like Lucasfilm and Pixar were termed as defendants in the case, which was filed in September 2014. According to a spokesperson of Walt Disney, this lawsuit has no meaningful merit and that the company will defend it actively. The court documents quoted an intrigue that epochs back to the 1980s, started by the most significant figures in the American Entertainment sector like Steve Jobs, creator of Apple, Ed Catmull, president of Pixar and the organizer of Lucasfilm George Lucas.
According to the terms of the conspiracy, the companies agreed not to lure each other's staffs with huge wages and alert each other while making a proposal to an animation staff at another firm and would not pledge higher wages if the worker's present firm made a counter proposal. The case document also quoted an e-mailed statement from Catmull, which stated that both Pixar and DreamWorks Animation have agreed not to pursue each other's animation staffs, as reported by TheWrap.
The lawsuit also alleged that senior post-human resources and hiring managers met annually to talk about job labels and also swapped details on setting pays within the lowest level for the succeeding year. In 2010, another lawsuit involving Pixar, Lucasfilm, Apple, Google, Intuit, Intel Corp and Adobe Systems claimed that the firms' "no solicitation" deal limited better job offers and pays to skilled workers.
The lawsuit ended with the companies pledging to stop such actions for five years while Pixar and Lucasfilm agreed to pay a settlement charge of $9 million. A further hearing is scheduled on Friday to investigate the lawsuit.
The CARTOON BREW reported that Robert Nitsch, a previous animation worker at Dreamworks Animation, was the first to file a complaint against the issue in September 2014. Later the legal battle was joined by other plaintiffs like David Wentworth and Georgia Cano. The accusers have requested the jury, Lucy Koh, to plan the enquiries on Sony's settlement case on the same day of the settlement case with Blue Sky.
According to THE Hollywood Reporter, the experts at Sony calculated the settlement amount to be 16.7% of the $78 million in damages. "The Settlement provides the additional consideration that Sony Pictures will cooperate with plaintiffs to prepare a declaration for all documents produced by Sony Pictures in this case that appear on plaintiffs' trial exhibit list and provide no voluntary cooperation to the other defendants," the lawsuit noted.
The settlement ends the prevailing legal battle against the accusers in the animation wage litigation. With the conclusion of this lawsuit, Sony will be able to concentrate on its primary business.