animation_wagefixing_lawsuit animation_wagefixing_lawsuit
Artist RightsDisneyLawPixar

New Web Site Helps Artists Claim Settlement Money From Wage Theft Lawsuit

Although Disney, Pixar, Lucasfilm, and DreamWorks continue to fight their employees in the wage theft lawsuit, other studios like Sony Pictures Animation, Sony Imageworks, and Blue Sky Studios have agreed to settle the case.

Due to the settlement funds provided by these other studios, amounting to nearly $19 million, the court-appointed claims administrator Kurtzman Carson Consultants has set up the web site to help distribute the money.

Thousands of studio employees who worked at any of the studios in the lawsuit between 2001 and 2010 are eligible to participate in the settlement (the list of eligible job titles is here) and most have already received mailed letters explaining their rights. If you are an artist who hasn’t been contacted yet, the web site will provide all the information you need to participate in the settlement, and also explains how to opt-out of the settlement for those who wish to continue suing Blue Sky and/or Sony Pictures.

The monies owed to artists is still some months away. The United States District Court for the Northern District of California will hold a Fairness Hearing on November 10, 2016 at 1:30 p.m. to decide whether to approve the Blue Sky and Sony settlements. Even if the court approves the settlements, the decision may still be appealed. However, if there is no appeal, the money should be distributed sometime after the November hearing.

The lawsuit against the non-settling defendants—DreamWorks Animation, The Walt Disney Company, Lucasfilm, Pixar, and Image Movers Digital—is still ongoing, so additional money may become available if those companies choose to settle or if the case goes to trial and the plaintiff employees prevail.

  • Slim Cognito

    Just imagine how much money Disney and Pixar owe…

  • Apprentice Artist

    I received a letter on this, I started as a junior position in one of the company in 2010 December, not entirely if I’m entitled to it since it was the end of the year… Can anyone advise please?

  • Ryan Barrett

    Reaganomics at work… Trickle down my ass.

    • Taco

      The economics of Business has ALWAYS been Vacuum Up, never Trickle Down. Many wallets & bank accounts, even giving small amounts, will make that one person very rich. The business owner and landlords wet dream.

  • Eddie

    03:40 – How can a market properly deal with the issue of wage fixing and illegal collusion among businesses to keep wages down?

  • vfx artist

    If a vfx studio that isn’t included in the lawsuit (e.g. DD) made an employment offer to an artist at one of the included studios (e.g. ILM), and that artist accepted less than would otherwise have been possible, based on lower expectations due to his/her rate already being lower due to wage fixing, then the average rate for all artists in the industry, at all studios, was lowered. Which would have had knock on effects for all artists in the future.

    Similarly, if an artist asked for a relatively high rate at [DD] then that studio could decline with the motivation that they could get an equally experienced artist from [ILM] for less, then the average rate for all artists in the industry was lowered. Which would have had knock on effects for all artists in the future.

    I contend that all artists in the industry have been affected by the “wage fixing scandal” and that the lawsuit should be expanded as such. Why have DD and other studios in the US and internationally been excluded?

    Consider the degree of artist migration within the industry. During this period Weta and the London houses for example hired many artists from ILM and Sony. How much did those artists lose because their wage expectations were already lower, and how did that in turn effect negotiations with local less experienced artists in those other countries?

    Why is no one looking at the bigger picture?