A federal judge has rejected VFX and animation companies’ motion to dismiss a class-action lawsuit claiming the companies conspired to suppress wages and agree not to poach each other’s employees.
U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh said the evidence in an amended complaint suggests “a plausible inference” that the studios — DreamWorks Animation, Sony Pictures, Blue Sky Studios, Disney, Lucasfilm and Pixar — had agreed not to solicit each others’ workers, shared information about pay practices and took steps to keep secret the agreement.
The original complaint — filed by lighting artist Georgia Cano, character effects artist Robert Nitsch and production engineer David Wentworth — accuses the studios of suppressing wages since 2004 by refraining from cold-calling employees and sharing news of job offers.
Koh dismissed the lawsuit in April, partly because many claims were brought too late, but said the plaintiffs could file an amended complaint within 30 days.
On Thursday, Koh said the amended complaint sufficiently alleged that the studios tried to fraudulently conceal their conspiracy and that the statute of limitations could therefore be put on hold.