Not only did the over age-40 TV writers settle with ICM but also the old Broder Kurland Webb agency which ICM acquired in 2006. How much moolah did it take? The $4.5 million I reported, paid for by insurance. According to the consent decree filed today, the settlement talks over the 8-year-old age discrimination class action lawsuits began in November 2007 after both parties reviewed and evaluated demographic data including television writer employment by age, earnings, and studio and agency representation during the liability period. But here’s what I really love about the consent decree: ICM must now provide training on at least a biannual basis to recognize and prevent age discrimination to all its personnel involved in screening potential TV writer clients. ICM even has to take attendance at each training session. ICM also has to pay $50,000 to sit on an independent task force to examine its representation practices, and to participate conditionally in a job relief program that will promote the top 25% of older TV writers based on script evaluations by a neutral panel qualified experts.
Wow, the agents are now the older writers’ bitches. What a great day for Hollywood.
Especially now that 10,000 TV writers say they’ve “penned a happy ending” to the first of 23 class action age discrimination lawsuits by obtaining both dollars and programmatic relief designed to enhance work opportunities. Still unresolved are the other class actions in Los Angeles Superior Court against the major TV networks and production studios, including ABC, CBS, Disney, Fox, NBC Universal, Columbia, Warner Brothers and talent agencies Creative Artists, Endeavor, Paradigm and William Morris. Judge Emile Elias is expected to conduct a hearing later this year to grant final approval on the ICM deal. Class members may obtain claim forms from plaintiffs’ counsel upon the issuance of the settlement notice, but monetary awards to class members will not be made until at least thirty days after the deadline to file claims and approval by the Court. The settled case, Edwards, et al v. International Creative Management, Inc. alleged that the more than 150 named plaintiffs and others like them – television writers who were aged 40 and older after October 22, 1996 – were victims of systematic age discrimination by talent agents, who aided and abetted networks and studios by refusing to represent and refer older writers for work at the production studios. “The settlement agreement with ICM provides these talented television writers with a fair resolution to their claims,” said Steve Sprenger of Sprenger + Lang, lead trial counsel for the plaintiffs. “However, we still have a lot of work ahead of us to get these older writers the programmatic and monetary relief they deserve.”
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