Another domino has fallen in the two-plus-year suit by animation artists alleging wage-fixing and anti-poaching agreements between major studios, with DreamWorks Animation reaching a $50 million settlement on Monday, Deadline reports. The proposal issued by DWA, now owned by NBCUniversal, makes Disney the last defendant left in the legal imbroglio.
The $50 million offer amounts to just under 40% of the damages attributed to DWA by the plaintiffs’ expert, according to the Monday filing, but is significantly higher than previous settlements offered by Blue Sky and Sony. DWA has agreed to help authenticate its documents and answer “reasonable questions,” but it will not voluntarily produce any employee to testify at trial.
Originally filed in 2014, the suit by plaintiff Robert Nitsch Jr. alleges a widespread practice of inter-studio conspiracy to keep wages low for animators, digital artists, software engineers and other employees. David Wentworth and Georgia Cano’s suits were consolidated with Nitsch’s in December of 2014 under Judge Lucy Koh.
Blue Sky Studios was the first defendant to settle in March for nearly $6 million; followed by Sony Pictures Animation and Imageworks in May with $13 million (Judge Koh will preside over a final approval hearing Nov. 11).