Dreamworks Animation has agreed to pay $50 million to settle a class action accusing it of perpetuating a "no poach" agreement with other studios over the hiring of animators, according to a Monday filing in a California federal court.
The suit, filed in September 2014, claims animation studios entered into a secret "gentleman's agreement" not to actively solicit each other's employees or get into bidding wars over employees. (AP)
A group of animators and visual effects employees who worked for the studios asked the court to grant preliminary approval of the settlement with DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc., calling it fair and reasonable and saying it represented about 40 percent of the damages sustained by class members, who were previous employees of Dreamworks, as a result of the scheme.
“The Proposed Settlement Agreement was the product of a thorough assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of plaintiffs’ case,” the animators said. “It reflects nearly two years of discovery, uncovering the intricacies of a multi-faceted conspiracy.”
The agreement follows two other settlements reached in the case: a $6 million agreement with Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp. subsidiary Blue Sky Studios and a $13 million accord with Sony Pictures Corp. units Sony Pictures Imageworks Inc. and Sony Pictures Animation Inc., both of which received final approval from U.S. District Judge Lucy H. Koh earlier this year.
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