Search form

Disney Makes $100 Million Settlement with Animation Workers in Hollywood Studio Antitrust Lawsuit

Settlement in the class-action lawsuit filed workers in December 2014 on behalf of animation and VFX workers covers Disney, Pixar, Lucasfilm and Two Pic MC, formerly known as ImageMovers.

Disney has agreed to a $100 million settlement in the class-action lawsuit filed in December 2014 claiming that it and other Hollywood studios violated antitrust laws by conspiring to suppress the wages of animation and VFX artists.

According to a report by Variety, the settlement -- which was disclosed in a court filing on Tuesday -- covers Disney, Pixar, Lucasfilm and Two Pic MC, formerly known as ImageMovers. The Disney settlement follows a $50 million settlement with DreamWorks Animation, $13 million with Sony Imageworks and $5.95 million with 20th Century Fox-owned Blue Sky coming out of the same legal action.

The class-action lawsuit alleges that Disney, Pixar, DreamWorks Animation and other studios violated antitrust laws by conspiring to suppress the wages of animation and VFX artists via non-poaching agreements. The complaint filed by lighting artist Georgia Cano, character effects artist Robert Nitsch and production engineer David Wentworth accuses the studios of suppressing wages since 2004 by refraining from cold-calling employees and sharing news of job offers.

The suit contends that the roots of the anti-poaching agreements go back to the mid-1980s, when George Lucas and Ed Catmull, the president of Steve Jobs’ then-newly formed company Pixar, agreed to not raid each other’s employees. Other companies later joined conspiracy, the suit alleges, including Sony ImageMovers, Lucasfilm and Blue Sky Studios.

Arrangements to freeze wages and not poach employees were the subject of a separate investigation and lawsuit by the U.S. Justice Department in 2010. Several companies agreed to a prohibition against enforcing anti-poaching pacts for a period of five years, which ended the DOJ review, but in 2011, a class-action lawsuit was brought against Pixar, Lucasfilm, Apple, Google, Adobe and Intuit. The first two companies settled claims for $9 million while the other companies have gone to an appeals court after Koh rejected a $325 million settlement as insufficient.

The U.S. District Court in San Jose has scheduled a hearing on the Disney settlement for March 9th, 2017.

Jennifer Wolfe's picture

Formerly Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network, Jennifer Wolfe has worked in the Media & Entertainment industry as a writer and PR professional since 2003.

randomness