Less than six months after it was slapped with a very very short-lived class action by a former The Late Show With David Letterman intern, CBS is feeling the legal sting again. Earlier this week, ex-intern Camille Demere and her lawyers filed a jury trial-demanding complaint against CBS Corporation and CBS Radio.
“Upon information and belief, beginning in January 2009 and continuing through the present, CBS has employed individuals in the State of New York to perform work on its behalf and has improperly classified them as ‘interns’ without providing proper minimum wage compensation,” the filing in New York Supreme Court on January 26 says (read it here).
As in past similar intern class action-seeking lawsuits, Demere is claiming that the defendants violated labor laws, had her work as full time employee and never provided any of the expected educational training. In fact, CBS and the circumstances are not the only familiar part of this action. Attorneys Lloyd Ambinder, and LaDonna Lusher of NYC firm Virginia & Ambinder LLP along with Jeffrey Brown and Michael Tompkins of Carle Place-based Leeds Brown Law P.C. were among the same lawyers representing Mallory Musallam in her case against the company and the late night host back in September 2014. In pulling her case last fall, Musallam claimed that “lawsuit hungry” attorneys found her online and “coerced” her into suing. The firms denied the allegations and of course the suit was deep sixed.
With the flood of interns’ class actions since the game changing and still ongoing Black Swan case started in late 2011, some have settled for millions, some have been mediated, some have been tossed and some are still before the courts.
In this case, Demere’s complaint is very specific on what she actually did do while at CBS Radio for approximately 9-months nearly 5-years ago. “Beginning in approximately December 2009 and continuing through August 2010, CBS employed the Named Plaintiff to perform various tasks, including, but not limited to, managing the company’s website, writing stories to be published on the website and taking pictures for galleries and to supplement stories, cutting and editing full length radio features into shorter clips, creating original content to include in online posts, and moderating and troubleshooting the website,” the 10-page filing says.
The plaintiff says during her time at CBS she worked 5 days a week for a total of about 40 hours, as a full-time employee would. “CBS has derived a significant benefit from the work performed by the Named Plaintiff and other members of the putative class, the lawsuit notes. “Upon information and belief, CBS would have hired additional employees or required existing staff to work additional hours had the Named Plaintiff and other members of the putative class not performed work for CBS.”
Let’s see where this one goes next – or how long it lasts.