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US: Judge consolidates animators’ non-poaching class actions

 |  December 3, 2014

Three class action lawsuits against Sony, Disney, DreamWorks and other animation studios accusing the companies of unfairly keeping wages low have been consolidated, say reports.

Three digital artists are spearheading their newly-combined lawsuit that claims the studios violated antitrust rules by forming non-poaching agreements between each other. By vowing not to hire each other’s employees, plaintiffs say, the defendants “deprived Plaintiffs and other class members of millions of dollars in compensation” despite billions of dollars in revenue made by the firms.

The plaintiffs are seeking a jury trial.

According to reports, the amended filing reveals new details as to who, exactly, the plaintiffs are accusing of the collusion.

According to court documents, DreamWorks’ Head of Production and Technology allegedly emailed the heads of human resources at Pixar, Sony Pictures, Disney and other studios in 2009 to discuss how overtime compensation was handled.

”No studio acting in its own independent self-interest in the absence of a conspiracy to suppress compensation would share this kind of compensation information, let alone with such a large group of competitors. Such behavior only makes sense in the context of a conspiracy to suppress compensation,” the filing says.

The consolidated class action follows earlier lawsuits filed against other studios for similar non-poaching claims.

Full content: Deadline

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