UPDATE, 11:46 AM: ICM Partners today sought to have the class action interns lawsuit against them dismissed, as I reported earlier this week they would. This time around, their main argument is time, or rather that too much time, has passed for plaintiff Jason Rindenau’s Fair Labor Standards Act claim to be valid.
“Rindenau was an ICM academic intern in ICM’s Los Angeles office from May 23, 2011 through August 5, 2011,” according to documents filed by ICM’s lawyers in federal court in NY today (read it here). “Plaintiffs filed the First Amended Complaint on August 15, 2014, more than three years after Rindenau’s ICM internship ended. As a result, Rindenau is time-barred under the FLSA’s three-year statute of limitations from asserting any FLSA claim and, therefore, the First Cause of Action is not cognizable as to Rindenau and should be dismissed.”
The agency first filed a motion back on July 29 to have the initial complaint (first filed filed on June 17 by ex-intern Kimberly Behzadi) tossed. However, Rindenau joined the action after that and an amended complaint including him was filed on August 15. Not that ICM’s attorneys want that first motion to dismiss claims that interns at the agency were essentially unpaid employees negated by this new one. “In addition, the First Amended Complaint should be dismissed, in its entirety, for the reasons set forth in Defendant’s July 29, 2014 Motion to Dismiss,” said today’s filing.
PREVIOUS, SEPT. 3 PM: Let no one say they don’t believe in perseverance over at ICM Partners. The agency is set to try to get the potentially sprawling class action interns lawsuit against them tossed – for the second time. The upcoming move was revealed in a letter that plaintiffs Kimberly Behzadi and Jason Rindenau’s lawyer Rachel Bien sent to the federal judge in the case yesterday. “Defendant has informed Plaintiffs that it intends to move to dismiss the First Amended Complaint and has sought Plaintiffs’ consent to file its motion on September 5, 2014,” the September 2 correspondence over procedure from the Outten & Golden attorney to the Honorable Lorna Schofield says (read it here). Like similar interns lawsuits over the past few years, the plaintiffs allege that their time at ICM was as unpaid employees essentially doing the work of assistants. Unsurprisingly, ICM have said that’s not what goes on in their program.
The agency first filed a motion “dismissing this action because all claims contained in the Complaint are subject to arbitration under a valid arbitration agreement” back in late July. While that addressed Behzadi’s action filed on June 17, it was before fellow former intern Rindenau joined the case and before an amended complaint was filed in district court in New York on August 15.
Things have heated up since then with the plaintiffs last week filing a motion for reclassification to add other former interns to a class action case. With the call out to all those who participated in ICM’s intern program from August 26, 2011 until “the date of final judgment in this action,” the agency reacted outside the courts too. As Deadline exclusively reported, ICM HR head Karen Abrams made phone calls to former interns last week seeking information to support the agency’s program and telling them to expect a further call from lawyers.
Bien, Justin Swartz and Sally Abrahamson of the NYC firm handling the legal duties for Behzadi and Rindenau’s and any future additions to the case. Elise Michelle Bloom and Steven Hurd of Proskauer Rose’s NYC office and Michelle Annese of the firm’s Newark office are representing ICM.
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