Blue Sky Studios Pays $5.9M to Exit Animators' Suit

Blue Sky doesn't admit wrongdoing, but writes class members a check in exchange for release from all claims in the lawsuit.
Courtesy of Photofest
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One of the studios hit with an anti-trust putative class action from animation workers has drawn the line at how long it's willing to fight.

Blue Sky Studios on Thursday announced it has reached a settlement with the class plaintiffs in the In re: Animation Workers Antitrust Litigation pending in California federal court. 

The class of visual effects workers claims major animation studios are engaging in anti-competitive practices by agreeing not to poach each other's employees and the collusion prevents workers from obtaining better jobs and better pay.

In September 2014, ex-DreamWorks Animation employee Robert Nitsch Jr. sued his former company, along with Blue Sky, Sony Pictures and The Walt Disney Co.

Blue Sky's decision to bow out comes on the heels of a win for Disney. Wednesday a California magistrate judge ruled that a Pixar lawyer's secret emails don't establish fraud and won't have to be turned over during proceedings. 

"Blue Sky Studios has agreed to pay $5.95 million in return for a complete release from all claims in the litigation," says the statement. "The agreement expressly provides that the settlement does not represent an admission of any liability or wrongdoing by Blue Sky Studios or any of its current or former employees."

The settlement is pending review and approval by the court, which Blue Sky expects to happen in the coming months.

It remains to be seen if the other defendants will follow suit.

 

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