Settlers and Snitches: Sony Breaks Ranks in Hollywood Wage-Fixing ClaimsMay 05, 2016 Antitrust
I previously wrote about two wage-fixing class actions, where some of the largest high-tech and Hollywood companies conspired not to hire one another’s employees to keep wages low. Google, Apple, Intel and Adobe attempted to settle the high-tech class action for $324 million, but the Court found the amount too low. They ultimately settled for $415 million.
Meanwhile, the Hollywood wage-fixing case against Pixar, Dreamworks, Disney, LucasFilm and other studios continued to move towards trial when the Court denied the studios’ motion to dismiss.
Initial evidence indicated that Sony was clean; it had rebuffed the other studios’ efforts to recruit Sony into the “gentlemen’s agreement” not to hire one another’s employees. But apparently there was sufficient evidence against Sony that it decided to settle. Sony, which has given us such animated classics as the Smurf franchise, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, and Hotel Transylvania, agreed to pay $13 million to settle its portion of the wage-fixing claims and further agreed to cooperate with Plaintiffs in their action against the other studios.
It will be interesting to see whether Sony’s settlement will inspire the other studio defendants to cut their losses and settle or fight on.