EXCLUSIVE: It has taken a bit longer than the parties anticipated, but today the proposed settlement in the potential class action filed by a former intern on The Wendy Williams Show took one big step toward final resolution. Lawyers for plaintiff Anthony Tart on Friday filed a motion in federal court (read it here) seeking preliminary approval for the settlement first floated back in early June.
Sources tell me the settlement is now in the $1.3 million range with an opt-out mechanism for Lionsgate if legal fees or combined claims exceed about $800,000. No date for a hearing in front of Judge Alison Nathan has been set, though a proposed order was submitted today (read it here).
Joining the numerous intern suits that were spawned out of the still-ongoing Black Swan case, ex-TWWS intern Tart first filed his action against Lionsgate and producers Debmar-Mercury over the syndicated daytime talk show in mid-October last year. Like many of the other intern suits, Tart claimed he was made to work like a full-time employee with none of the benefits – like being paid. In late November, Lionsgate moved to have the case tossed. Around the same time, the company quietly joined other studios in the post-Black Swan reality of paying their interns.
As noted back in June when we first broke the news of a deal in the case, the proposed settlement would cover about 1,800 former interns at the company with a payout of about $500 each. Paperwork filed today in federal court would see an as-yet-undetermined amount go to the lawyers at Leeds Brown Law PC and intern legal action specialists Virginia & Ambinder as well as a $5,000 sum each to Tart and fellow instigating plaintiff Adriana Silva.
'Black Swan' Interns Lawsuit Overturned By Appeals Court
Now the next step is for Nathan to sign off, no further objections to be noted and then a final approval.
Christopher Parlo, Sam Shaulson and Stephanie Rosel Ross of Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP are representing Lionsgate and Debmar-Mercury in the case. LaDonna Lusher, Alison Genova, and Lloyd Ambinder of NYC’s Virginia & Ambinder LLP are working for Tart and the other class members, as are Jeffrey Brown and Daniel Markowitz of Leeds Brown Law PC.
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