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Hollywood Studio Antitrust Lawsuit Payouts Begin July 9

Settlement in the class-action lawsuit filed in December 2014 on behalf of animation and VFX workers to be paid out in July and August. 

Payouts on the class-action lawsuit filed claiming that Disney, Sony and other Hollywood studios violated antitrust laws by conspiring to suppress the wages of animation and VFX artists are set to begin on July 9, according to a post on the Animation Workers Antitrust Settlements website.

The suit, which was initially filed in December 2014, alleged 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, accused the studios of suppressing wages since 2004 by refraining from cold-calling employees and sharing news of job offers.

The suit contended that the roots of the anti-poaching agreements went 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 alleged, including Sony ImageWorks, ImageMovers, Lucasfilm and Blue Sky Studios.

Disney agreed to make a $100 million settlement in the lawsuit in early 2017, which covered Disney, Pixar, Lucasfilm and Two Pic MC, formerly known as ImageMovers. That followed a $50 million settlement made by DreamWorks Animation, a $13 million settlement made by Sony Imageworks and a $5.9 million settlement made by 20th Century Fox-owned Blue Sky.

The first of two distributions to class members begins July 9, 2018, with a second distribution planned for August 2018. Class members include employees who held an animation or visual effects job title at Blue Sky Studios, DreamWorks Animation, Two Pic/ImageMovers, Lucasfilm, Pixar, Sony Pictures Animation, Sony Pictures Imageworks, or The Walt Disney Company during the time periods specified in the complaint.

The full post on the Animation Workers Antitrust Settlements website outlining eligibility requirements and other information is shown below:

Animation Workers Antitrust Litigation

Welcome to the Animation Workers Antitrust Settlements Website


UPDATE as of June 26, 2018: The initial distribution is planned on Monday, July 9, 2018. A letter will accompany this distribution informing the class members that this is the first of two distributions and is approximately half of their total distribution. The letter will also identify the class member’s “work state” for tax purposes, pursuant to the data provided to the claims administrator by Defendants, and provide instructions on how to correct the work state by July 31, 2018 if it is not correct. The second distribution with the remaining proceeds will be made in August 2018 and will include the tax documents (e.g., Form W-2 and Form 1099), reflecting any updated work state.


If you were an employee who held an animation or visual effects job title at Blue Sky Studios, Inc., DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc., Two Pic MC LLC (f/k/a ImageMovers Digital LLC), Lucasfilm, Ltd., LLC, Pixar, Sony Pictures Animation Inc., Sony Pictures Imageworks Inc., or The Walt Disney Company during the time periods set forth below, you could get money from a settlement with one of the multiple defendants in the lawsuit.

  • The class action lawsuit In re Animation Workers Antitrust Litigation, 14-cv-04062-LHK, claims that Blue Sky Studios, Inc. (“Blue Sky”), DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc., Two Pic MC LLC (f/k/a ImageMovers Digital LLC), Lucasfilm, Ltd., LLC, Pixar, Sony Pictures Animation Inc. and Sony Pictures Imageworks Inc. (“Sony Pictures”), and The Walt Disney Company (collectively, the “Defendants”) violated federal and state antitrust laws by conspiring to suppress compensation by agreeing not to solicit each other’s employees and by coordinating compensation policies. Defendants deny that they violated any antitrust law or engaged in any wrongdoing.

  • DWA Holdings, LLC, successor to DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc. (“DreamWorks”), has settled for $50,000,000 (the “DreamWorks Settlement”), and Pixar, Lucasfilm Ltd., LLC, The Walt Disney Company, and Two Pic MC LLC f/k/a ImageMovers Digital LLC have settled for $100,000,000 (the “Disney Settlement”). Blue Sky has settled for $5,950,000 and Sony Pictures has settled for $13,000,000.  

There were two groups of settlements in this case. If you meet the class definition of Group #1, below, you may be entitled to compensation from the funds from the Group #1 settlements ($18.95 million). If you meet the class definition of Group #2, below, you may be also entitled to compensation from the funds from the Group #2 settlements ($150 million).

  • Definition of class for purposes of Group #1 settlements only:

All animation and visual effects employees employed by defendants in the United States who held any of the jobs listed in Ashenfelter Reply Report Appendix C during the following time periods: Pixar (2001- 2010), Lucasfilm Ltd., LLC (2001-2010), DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc. (2003-2010), The Walt Disney Company (2004-2010), Sony Pictures Animation, Inc. and Sony Pictures Imageworks, Inc. (2004- 2010), Blue Sky Studios, Inc. (2005-2010) and Two Pic MC LLC f/k/a ImageMovers Digital LLC (2007-2010). Excluded from the Class are senior executives, members of the board of directors, and persons employed to perform office operation or administrative tasks.

  • Definition of class for purposes of Group #2 settlements only:

All animation and visual effects employees employed by one or more of the Defendants in the United States who held any of the job titles listed in the attached List of Job Titles by Defendant during the following time periods: Pixar (2004–2010), Lucasfilm Ltd., LLC (2004–2010), DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc. (2004–2010), The Walt Disney Company (2004–2010), Sony Pictures Animation, Inc. and Sony Pictures Imageworks, Inc. (2004–2010), Blue Sky Studios, Inc. (2005–2010) and Two Pic MC LLC f/k/a ImageMovers Digital LLC (2007–2010). Excluded from the Class are senior executives, members of the board of directors, and persons employed to perform office operations or administrative tasks.

The list of job titles applicable to both groups is available here. To be a class member for either Group of settlements, you have to have held one of the job titles on the list.

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.

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