Animation Workers Antitrust Litigation

Settlement Class Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Does it make a difference whether I work or worked for Blue Sky or Sony Pictures, on the one hand, or DreamWorks Animation, Two Pic (f/k/a IMD), Lucasfilm, Pixar, or The Walt Disney Company, on the other hand?
  2. What are my rights as a Settlement Class Member?
  3. What do the Settlements provide?
  4. How much money can I get from the Settlement?
  5. How can I get money from the Settlements?
  6. When will I get my payments?
  7. What am I giving up to get payments under the Settlements?
  8. Who represents me as a Settlement Class Member in this case?
  9. How will the lawyers be paid?
  10. How do I get out of one or both of the Settlements?
  11. How do I tell the Court that I like or don’t like the proposed Settlements, and may I speak at the hearing?
  12. When and where will the Court decide whether to approve the Settlements?
  1. Does it make a difference whether I work or worked for Blue Sky or Sony Pictures, on the one hand, or DreamWorks Animation, Two Pic (f/k/a IMD), Lucasfilm, Pixar, or The Walt Disney Company, on the other hand?

    As long as you fall within the definition of the Settlement Class you can participate in one or both of the Settlements, regardless of which Defendant you work or worked for, or whether you have worked for more than one.  Current and former employees of Settling Defendants Blue Sky and Sony Pictures, and the Non-Settling Defendants (DreamWorks Animation, Two Pic/IMD, Lucasfilm, Pixar, Disney) who fall within the definition of the Settlement Class are all Settlement Class Members and are all entitled to receive a payment under the Settlements.  

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  2. What are my rights as a Settlement Class Member?

    If you are a Settlement Class Member, you have the right to (1) do nothing, in which case you will receive a payment and will waive any rights to pursue a lawsuit of your own against Blue Sky or Sony Pictures, (2) exclude yourself from one or both of the Settlements, (3) comment on or object to one or both of the Settlements, or (4) attend the Court’s Fairness Hearing to speak in support of or against the Court’s final approval of one or both of the Settlements.

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  3. What do the Settlements provide?

    As explained in the Notice, Blue Sky and Sony Pictures entered into separate Settlement Agreements that are independent of each other.

    Blue Sky will pay $5,950,000 into a Settlement Fund. After deducting attorneys’ fees, costs, applicable taxes, and other fees and expenses, the Settlement Fund will be distributed to Settlement Class Members. In the event monies remain as residue in the Settlement Fund following all distribution efforts approved by the Court and payment of any taxes, Plaintiffs will ask the Court for an order disposing of all such funds, through additional distributions to eligible Settlement Class members and/or escheat to the federal government.

    As a Settlement Class Member, you will give up, or “release,” your claims against Blue Sky in exchange for the right to receive your share of the Blue Sky Settlement Fund. That release includes any claims made or that could have been made against Blue Sky arising from the facts alleged in this lawsuit. The release is described in more detail in the Settlement Agreement and in the Notice. You can view or download a copy of the Settlement Agreement here.

    Sony Pictures will pay $13,000,000 into a Settlement Fund.  After deducting attorneys’ fees, costs, applicable taxes, and other fees and expenses, the Settlement Fund will be distributed to Settlement Class Members.  In the event monies remain as residue in the Settlement Fund following all distribution efforts approved by the Court and payment of any taxes, Plaintiffs will ask the Court for an order disposing of all such funds, through additional distributions to eligible Class members and/or escheat to the federal government.

    As a Settlement Class Member, you will give up, or “release,” your claims against Sony Pictures in exchange for the right to receive your share of the Sony Pictures Settlement Fund. That release includes any claims made or that could have been made against Sony Pictures arising from the facts alleged in this lawsuit. The release is described in more detail in the Settlement Agreement and in the Notice. You can view or download a copy of the Settlement Agreement here.

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  4. How much money can I get from the Settlement?

    Settlement Class Members who do not opt out will be eligible to receive a share of the Settlement Funds, less all applicable reductions based on a formula using the total compensation paid to a Settlement Class Member. In other words, each Settlement Class Member’s share of the Settlement Funds is a fraction, with the Settlement Class Member’s total compensation paid on the basis of employment in a Class Position during the Class Period as the numerator and the total compensation paid to all Settlement Class Members on the basis of employment in a Class Position during the Class Period as the denominator.

    Each Settlement Class Member’s fractional amount shall be multiplied against the Settlement Funds, less court-approved costs, and attorneys’ fees and expenses. The total compensation paid, dates of employment, and whether a potential Settlement Class Member held a Class Position will be conclusively derived from Defendants’ data maintained by their respective human resources departments and will not be subject to challenge by Settlement Class Members. Payments to Settlement Class Members shall not be made until the Effective Date has passed and all objections, collateral challenges or appeals relating to the Settlements have been fully and finally resolved. The proposed Plan of Allocation is available for review here, and will be presented for approval by the Court at the Fairness Hearing.

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  5. How can I get money from the Settlements?

    You do not need to do anything to receive money from the Settlements. If you fall within the Settlement Class Definition and do not opt-out of the Settlements, you will receive money from the Settlements. If you exclude yourself from one or both of the Settlements, you will not receive money from that Settlement.  You may opt out of one Settlement and not the other, or opt out of both. 

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  6. When will I get my payments?

    The Court will hold a Fairness Hearing on November 10, 2016 at 1:30 p.m. to decide whether to approve one or both of the Settlements. If the Court approves one or both of the Settlements, there still may be appeals of that decision. If an appeal is filed, it is hard to estimate how long it might take for it to be resolved, but it can take a lot of time, perhaps more than a year. Settlement payments to Settlement Class Members will be distributed if the Settlements are approved, and after appeals, if any, are resolved. Updates regarding the Settlements and when payments may be made will be posted on the settlement website. 

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  7. What am I giving up to get payments under the Settlements?

    If you are a Settlement Class Member, unless you exclude yourself from the Settlements, you will remain within the Class, and that means that you can’t sue, continue to sue, or be part of any other lawsuit against Blue Sky or Sony Pictures or the Released Parties defined in the Notice, about the claims in this case. It also means that all of the Court’s orders will apply to you and legally bind you, and that you agree to the “Release of Claims,” which describes exactly the legal claims that you give up if you participate in the Settlements with respect to each Settling Defendant.

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  8. Who represents me as a Settlement Class Member in this case?

    The Court appointed the following three law firms as Settlement Class Counsel to represent the Settlement Class:

    Daniel A. Small

    COHEN MILSTEIN SELLERS & TOLL PLLC

    1100 New York Ave. NW, Suite 500

    Washington, DC 20005

    Steve W. Berman

    HAGENS BERMAN SOBOL SHAPIRO LLP

    1918 Eighth Avenue, Suite 3300

    Seattle, WA 98101

    Marc M. Seltzer

    SUSMAN GODFREY LLP                       

    1901 Avenue of the Stars, Suite 950

    Los Angeles, CA 90067-6029

     

    These lawyers and law firms are called “Plaintiffs’ Counsel.” Their contact information may be viewed on the Notice available here.

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  9. How will the lawyers be paid?

    Plaintiffs’ Counsel may ask the Court to approve payment from the Settlement Funds for attorneys’ fees, which will not exceed 25 percent of the Settlement Funds.  Plaintiffs’ Counsel will not receive any portion of their fees until the Court approves such a payment. Plaintiffs’ Counsel will also ask the Court to approve payment from the Settlement Funds for their out-of-pocket costs and expenses.  

    Plaintiffs’ Counsel will also ask the Court to approve payments of up to $10,000 to each of the three individual Class Representatives as Service Awards for their service.

    The costs of providing the Notice and administering the Settlements are being paid from the Settlement Funds. If the Court grants Counsel’s requests, all fees, costs, and expenses would be deducted from the Settlement Funds. 

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  10. How do I get out of one or both of the Settlements?

    If you fall within the Settlement Class Definition but don’t want a payment from one or both of the Settlements, or if you want to keep the right to sue or continue to sue Blue Sky and/or Sony Pictures about the issues in this case (at your own expense), then you must exclude yourself or “opt out” of the respective Settlement.

    To exclude yourself, or opt out, from either of the Settlements, you must send a letter or written request to the Notice and Claims Administrator at the address below saying that you want to be excluded from the Settlement(s) in In re: Animation Workers Antitrust Litigation, with your full legal name and the name(s) of the Defendant company or companies (i.e., Blue Sky, DreamWorks Animation, Two Pic (f/k/a IMD), Lucasfilm, Pixar, Sony Pictures Animation, Sony Pictures Imageworks, or The Walt Disney Company) for which you worked during the Class period.  You must sign your request, and identify which Settlement you wish to opt out of.  You may also opt out of both. 

    To exclude yourself, or opt out, from one or both Settlements, you must submit your opt-out request letter postmarked no later than September 30, 2016 (or received by the Notice and Claims Administrator by that date if sent by fax or e-mail) to the following address:

    Animation Workers Antitrust Litigation
    c/o Kurtzman Carson Consultants ("KCC")
    P.O. Box 6002
    Larkspur, CA 94977-6002
    info@animationlawsuit.com
    Fax: 415-256-9756

    You cannot exclude yourself, or opt out, by telephone.

    If you request to be excluded from the Settlement with Blue Sky, you will not be legally bound by the Blue Sky Settlement. You will be able to sue (or continue to sue) Blue Sky in the future about the claims in this case.   Similarly, if you request to be excluded from the Settlement with Sony Pictures, you will not be legally bound by the Sony Pictures Settlement. You will be able to sue (or continue to sue) Sony Pictures in the future about the claims in this case.

    If you ask to be excluded from either Settlement, you will not receive payment from that Settlement, and you will not be able to object to it.  

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  11. How do I tell the Court that I like or don’t like the proposed Settlements, and may I speak at the hearing?

    If you are a Settlement Class Member, you can comment on or object to one or both of the settlements if you like or don’t like any part of it and ask the Court to deny approval to one or both of the Settlements. You can give reasons why you think the Court should or should not approve them. You cannot ask the Court to order a larger settlement; the Court can only approve or deny the Settlements. If the Court denies approval of either Settlement, no settlement payments will be sent out with respect to that Settlement and the lawsuit will continue against that defendant. If that is what you want to happen, you must object.

    All comments and objections must be in writing, signed, and must include the following:

    (a) your name, address, telephone number, email address and signature;

    (b) the case name and number (In re Animation Workers Antitrust Litigation, Case Number 14-cv-4062),

    (c) the identity of the Settlement(s) to which you are objecting;

    (d) a summary of any other objections you or an attorney on your behalf filed to any class action settlements submitted to any court in the United States in the previous five years; and

    (e) a detailed statement of your comments or objections, including the grounds for your objections, if any, together with any supporting documents.

    All comments and objections must be submitted to the Court either by mailing them to Judge Koh’s Case System Administrator, United States District Court for the Northern District of California, 280 South 1st Street, Room 2112, San Jose, CA 95113, or by filing them in person at any location of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.  Comments or objections must be filed or postmarked on or before September 30, 2016. 

    You do not need to attend or speak at the Fairness Hearing (described in Question 24 of the Notice) for your comments or objections to be considered. If you would like to speak at the Fairness Hearing about your comments or objections to the Settlements, please add to your letter a statement that you intend to appear and speak at the hearing, for example, by stating “This is my Notice of Intention to Appear at the Fairness Hearing for In re Animation Workers Antitrust Litigation.”

    If you choose to exclude yourself from either Settlement, you will have no right to speak at the hearing about that Settlement or object to it, because that Settlement will no longer affect your rights.

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  12. When and where will the Court decide whether to approve the Settlements?

    The Court will hold a Fairness Hearing at November 10, 2016 at 1:30 p.m. at the following courtroom:

    The Honorable Lucy H. Koh
    Courtroom 8, 4th Floor
    The United States District Court for the Northern District of California
    280 S. First Street
    San Jose, California 95113

    At this hearing, the Court will consider the Settlements separately and determine whether they are fair, reasonable, and adequate. If there are written comments or objections, the Court will consider them. The Court will decide whether to allow people who have raised objections or comments to speak at the hearing. The Court may also decide how much to award to Plaintiffs’ Counsel in attorneys’ fees and expenses and whether to approve the payment of Service Awards to the Class Representatives. After the hearing, the Court will decide whether to approve either or both Settlements.  We do not know how long this decision will take.

    Fairness Hearings are rarely rescheduled, but you should be sure to check the website, www.animationlawsuit.com, for news of any such changes.

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