Two 21st Century Fox Inc units have
settled class-action litigation by former interns who said they
should have been paid for their work, in a case that sparked
multimillion-dollar settlements with interns at other big media
According to papers filed on Tuesday in Manhattan federal
court, Fox Searchlight Pictures and Fox Entertainment Group will
pay $495 to each claimant who interned without pay for at least
two weeks at various times between 2005 and 2010.
Several dozen people are eligible for payments under the
settlement, which requires approval by U.S. District Judge
William Pauley in Manhattan.
The accord marks a quiet end to a lawsuit that forced
companies to rethink how they use interns, and whether failing
to pay students and recent college graduates looking for
practical experience violated minimum wage laws.
Pauley sparked much of the debate when he ruled in June 2013
that Fox Searchlight should have paid Eric Glatt and Alexander
Footman, who interned on the 2010 movie "Black Swan," because
the company was the primary beneficiary of their work.
But a federal appeals court reversed that ruling last July,
saying no payment was needed if the work was designed mainly to
advance interns' knowledge in a given field.
It returned the case to Pauley to examine that issue, but
only after companies including Comcast Corp's
NBCUniversal, Conde Nast and Viacom Inc had already
reached settlements of similar suits topping $5 million.
Under Tuesday's settlement, Glatt and Footman would be paid
a respective $7,500 and $6,000. Their law firm Outten & Golden,
which obtained some of the larger settlements, plans to seek up
to $200,000 for legal fees and costs, court papers show.
Fox spokesman Chris Petrikin said in a statement: "Having
decisively prevailed in our appeal, Fox wishes to put this
matter completely behind us. We will refocus on a return to our
proud history of offering dynamic, educational internships."
A lawyer for the plaintiffs did not immediately respond to
requests for comment.
The case is Glatt et al v. Fox Searchlight Pictures Inc et
al, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No.