5:20pm PT by Austin Siegemund-Broka
Former Intern Drops Lawsuit Against CBS, David Letterman's Company
Internship lawsuits are everywhere in Hollywood, but it's rare they end this quickly.
The proposed class-action suit filed by former intern Mallory Musallam against CBS and Worldwide Pants — the production company through which David Letterman produces The Late Show With David Letterman — was dismissed on Wednesday. That's less than a week after Musallam filed the Sept. 4 complaint, in which she alleged that her 2008 internship violated New York's minimum wage and overtime laws.
The New York Post is now reporting that Musallam has apologized for the lawsuit and has accused attorneys at the firm representing her, Virginia & Ambinder, of coercing her into suing. "While I am ultimately responsible for my actions as an adult, I was caught in a weak, vulnerable time, facing student debt," she reportedly said, calling her representatives Lloyd Ambinder, LaDonna Lusher and Jack Newhouse at V&A and Jeffrey Brown at Leeds Brown "a beguiling legion of lawsuit-hungry lawyers."
"The inveigling suit squad assured me that my intern work was little more than indentured servitude under newly established laws and that I was just one among other participants,” she reportedly said. In her complaint, she alleged that she and other interns worked more than 40 hours, five days a week.
The offices of Virginia & Ambinder and Leeds Brown have not returned requests for comment.
CBS said in a statement when the suit was filed, “This lawsuit is part of a nationwide trend of class action lawyers attacking internship opportunities provided by companies in the media and entertainment industry. We pride ourselves on providing valuable internship experiences, and we take seriously all of our obligations under relevant labor and employment laws. We intend to vigorously defend against the claims."
Musallam's suit was one in a wave of litigation over internships in the entertainment industry. There are cases currently in progress against companies including NBCUniversal, Viacom, Marvel Entertainment, Warner Music Group and recently ICM.
One of the most significant cases, Eric Glatt and Alex Footman's suit against Fox Searchlight over their internships on the Oscar contender Black Swan, ended with a summary judgment win for the former interns in 2013 and a certification for them to lead a class-action lawsuit against Fox Entertainment Group. Fox appealed the case, and it is currently under examination.
The legal fortunes of other former interns were not so good. Earlier in 2013, a judge refused to certify a class-action suit against Hearst for some 3,000 former interns at fashion magazines owned by the publisher, including Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire and Cosmopolitan.