Days after yet another round of filings in the Black Swan interns’ class action, Fox Searchlight and Fox Entertainment Group got some traction and some status quo out of the overseeing federal judge. The traction this week came out of Judge William Paley III granting (read the order here) the Fox companies’ June 25th request to limit the time period in which potential class action participants can be considered qualified to join the suit. Instead of stretching from September 28, 2008 to September 1, 2010 as originally granted on June 11, the qualifying period will now be from a much tighter January 18 to September 1, 2010. The case was modified down to less than nine months in range due to the three year statute of limitations and the fact that plaintiff Eden Antalik, didn’t join the initial September 2011 action by Black Swan interns Alex Footman and Eric Glatt until an amended complaint was filed in late 2012. While Glatt and Footman worked on the 2010 Darren Aronofsky-directed film, Antalik was an unpaid intern in Fox Searchlight’s NYC corporate office. This order on August 26 could now see the number of people who can actually join the class action cut quite severely – which is a carving up the case that works for Fox.
At the same time, the judge denied the Fox companies’ late June motion for partial reconsideration request to strike Fox Group and Fox Interactive Media, since renamed News Corp Digital Media, from the class action case’s defined groups. Fox claimed in its June 25 motion that Paley’s seismic June 11 summary judgment was wrong in whom it included in its scope. “The Court’s Order adopted plaintiff’s proposed class and collective definitions, without apparent consideration of the undisputed facts that Fox Group and Fox Interactive Media (‘FIM’) are not and never have been subsidiaries or divisions of FEG or Searchlight,” said a memo accompanying the motion. Paley respectfully disagreed. “This Court certified the class in part based on Antalik’s showing that internships at the various entities were administered by the same personnel and subject to policies centrally administered by FEG,” wrote Judge Paley on Monday. As it stands right now, the case will still include Fox Group and Fox Interactive Media as well as Fox Filmed Group and Fox Networks Group.
Of course, as the August 23 filings by Fox Searchlight and Fox Entertainment Group show, this potentially industry changing case has a lot more shaving and modifying from all parties yet to come. Fox Searchlight and Fox Entertainment Group are represented by Elise Bloom and Amy Melican of NYC firm Proskauer Rose LLP. Adam Klein, Rachel Bien and Elizabeth Wagoner represent the interns and the class action plaintiffs.