Blue Sky Studios — the Fox-owned CG feature powerhouse behind The Peanuts Movie, Rio and the hit Ice Age franchise — last week became the first studio to pursue a settlement agreement in the suit filed over a year and a half ago by former DreamWorks Animation vfx artist Robert Nitsch Jr.
The potential class action called out major animation studios including DWA, Disney, Pixar, Sony and Lucasfilm over wage-fixing and anti-poaching agreement allegations. Blue Sky was added to the list a few months after Nitsch originally filed his antitrust complaint in September of 2014, when Nitsch and fellow artists David Wentworth and Georgia Cano consolidated their suits against the various studios.
“The Court should preliminarily approve the proposed settlement as fair, reasonable and adequate because it provides for the class A cash payment of $5,950,000 and cooperation from Blue Sky,” Thursday’s Northern California federal court filing regarding Blue Sky reads. “That amount is approximately 25 percent of plaintiffs’ expert’s calculation of the damages attributable to Blue Sky employees in the class.”
Nitsch, Wentworth and Cano will each receive $10,000 per this first settlement, which their attorneys called an “excellent result” in their settlement motion. A hearing on the agreement is set for June 16 with Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose. Blue Sky strongly asserts that this settlement does not represent an admission of wrongdoing or liability on the part of the studio.
You can find more details and a link to the full settlement pursuit document filed by Blue Sky over at Deadline.