Fox and Sony units won approval from U.S. District Judge Lucy H. Koh for their combined $19 million settlements to close out a proposed class action in California federal court accusing them and other major studios of illegally conspiring not to hire each other’s animators.
Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp. subsidiary Blue Sky Studios said in March it had reached a deal with the 10,000-strong proposed class of animators, reporting that it would pay nearly $6 million to settle. In May, Sony Pictures Corp. units Sony Pictures Imageworks Inc. and Sony Pictures Animation Inc. struck a $13 million accord with the workers.
Judge Koh granted preliminary approval to both deals in a single filing on Wednesday, July 6 saying she’d reviewed the proposed deals and found them to be fair based on the circumstances and risks involved, and that they would provide good recovery from two companies whose share of “employee-years” in the suit is a little more than a fifth of the total class. “The settlement is the result of arm’s length negotiations among experienced counsel, following extensive discovery on both sides,” Judge Koh wrote.
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