Some have been settled, some are being mediated and some are still before the courts but today a new interns complaint from some familiar lawyers has entered the equation. While William Morris Endeavor has been paying its interns for a while, it looks like the Hollywood Agency and Silverlake Partners’ $2.2 billion acquisition late last year of talent, management and licensing heavy hitter IMG Worldwide inherited a legal time bomb – and it has gone off this week.
“Upon information and belief, beginning in December 2008 and continuing through the present, Defendant 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,” said the class action seeking filing today by Richard Carden against IMG (read it here). The jury trial demanding complaint adds “members of the putative class furnished labor to Defendant, for Defendant’s benefit, without receiving any compensation other than the same one-time payment of $400 received at the end of their employment period.”
Lloyd Ambinder and Kara Miller of NYC firm Virginia & Ambinder LLP along with Jeffery Brown, Brett Cohen and Michael Tompkins of Carle Place, NY firm Leeds Brown Law, P.C. are representing Carden and the putative class in the case. The Ari Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell run WME and IMG might want to note that these are many of the same lawyers from the very very short-lived interns lawsuit against CBS and David Letterman’s Worldwide Pants from September of this year. The plaintiff in that case pulled the complaint mere days after filing it, claiming that “lawsuit hungry” lawyers talked her into it. Among other interns class action suits on their busy dance card, the attorneys are also repping the plaintiff in the case against Lionsgate and producers Debar-Mercury over internships on The Wendy Williams Show.
Like in past interns lawsuits, from the game changing and still ongoing Black Swan case to the relatively recent and Lionsgate one over TWWS, Carden alleges violations of labor laws. Citing New York labor laws, the currently Cook County, Illinois residing Carden says he worked at IMG Worldwide in NYC from June 2011 to July 2011. Doing the work of what should have been a paid employee, Carden claims he regularly put in 40-hpur weeks during his tenure at IMG. He also says he received zero “academic or vocational training” while at the company. While no specific damages or member figures are given in the New York Supreme Court filed complaint, the class is said to be greater than 100 people – less than in some past interns lawsuit and more than others.
If the complaint does get the reclassification it seeks, then this could run well higher depending on all the interns IMG had over the past 6 years. If.