EXCLUSIVE: Lionsgate might want the 4-month-old lawsuit thrown out, but it looks like the potential class action complaint actually could grow. Last week, another former intern on The Wendy Williams Show sought to join the legal action first filed by Anthony Tart in early October last year. On February 4, Lloyd Ambinder of NYC firm Virginia & Ambinder LLP filed a consent request in federal court for Danielle Minch to join the collective action seeking unpaid wages under the Fair Labor Standards Act (read it here). The firm is also representing Tart in the matter. Lionsgate responded to Tart’s October 3 complaint on November 26 with a request that the court dismiss the matter “in its entirety, with prejudice.”
In this particular case, Minch was an intern on the Lionsgate-distributed and Debmar-Mercury-produced daytime talker from January to May last year in NYC. That puts her well within the three-year statute of limitations on cases like this in the federal courts. Like Tart and other interns in other cases in recent years have claimed, Minch’s desire “to recover any unpaid wages that might be owed to me” indicates that she worked like a full-time employee on Williams’ show.
No details are given in Minch’s documents seeking to join the Tart initiated case, but her LinkedIn profile does provide some sense of the work she actually did on TWWS. Minch says online that she assisted “in audience casting and briefing for Ask Wendy and Eye Candy segments of the show. She also claims that she researched “celebrity talent” and helped film the “Street Talk segment.” Although it was filed last week, Minch actually signed the consent back on January 25 (read it here).
In the plaintiff and potential plaintiff’s corner, Virginia & Ambinder have some experience when it comes to the courts and interns. They were the lawyers in the very short-lived David Letterman intern action against CBS and the soon-to-be-retired host’s production company last year. They also are the legal reps in the recently filed class action against CBS and CBS Radio by a former intern.
So far, Judge Alison Nathan has not ruled on the collective action nor Minch’s desire to be a part of it. But the former TWWS intern could be the first of many seeking to join the case. In his complaint, Tart — who was at TWWS from August to December 2012 — says that almost from its debut in July 2008, the show has violated federal and NY State laws. He also claimed his case represented more than 100 TWWS interns. When and if the court certifies the matter, other potential plaintiffs have 60 days to join. Back in summer 2013, Fox renewed TWWS through the 2016-17 season.
The defendants are represented by Christopher Parlo and Sam Shaulson of Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP.