Disney, Sony, DreamWorks Asked Court to Dismiss Anti-Poaching Lawsuit

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Major animation studios filed a motion to dismiss an antitrust suit filed against them by their former employees.  The defendants Disney, Sony, DreamWorks, and Blue Sky argued in the filing that the plaintiff animators brought the suit five years after the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) in 2010 began scrutinizing arrangements to freeze wages and not poach employees in the industry.  Moreover, the defendants further claimed the allegations that the studios would collude to suppress wages was “implausible” when the DOJ’s probe began and after companies like Disney had settled related private litigation, according to the filing.

The filing further said that

“[i]n an effort to manufacture new claims not covered by the High-Tech lawsuits, plaintiffs assert that animation studios, other than High-Tech defendants Pixar and Lucasfilm, also participated in the alleged conspiracy. However, plaintiffs’ attempt is futile as a matter of law and comes far too late. The statutes of limitations for their claims expired long ago.”

The lawsuit filed in last September alleged the defendants conspired to illegally suppress animators wages since 2004 under non-poaching agreements.

Previously, Intuit Inc. and Lucasfilm and Pixar units of Disney settled similar claims for $20 million while Apple, Google, Intel, and Adobe settled for $324.5 million which was rejected by the court as too low.  The tech companies appealed the rejection.

A hearing for this motion is scheduled for March 26.

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