Fox Searchlight Appeals ‘Black Swan’ Lawsuit: What Is an ‘Intern,’ Anyway?

Fox Searchlight Appeals 'Black Swan' Lawsuit: What Is an 'Intern,' Anyway?

Lawyers for the studio believe that the court can't impose a judgment without defining a few key things

Fox Searchlight attorneys are apparently not writing checks out to its former interns without a prolonged battle.

The media giant filed documents Tuesday, demonstrating a desire to appeal to the Second Circuit Court for answers on what the "Black Swan" production company considers outstanding questions in its case.

Last month, Judge William H. Pauley III ruled that Fox Searclight intern Eric Glatt and fellow "Black Swan" intern Alexander Footman were entitled to payment for their work on the film under the Fair Labor Standards Act and New York labor law.

Also read: Fox Searchlight Fights Back Against 'Black Swan' Intern Lawsuit

But now, Fox Searchlight seeks specifically for the court to set legal precedents by defining two things:

>> What is the test for determining whether an unpaid intern has been misclassified and is entitled to compensation as an employee?

>> What legal standard applies at the post discovery stage in the Fair Labor Standards Act conditional certification context?

In the documents, Fox Searchlight's attorneys claim that both questions raise "substantial ground for difference[s] of opinion" and will "advance the ultimate termination of th[is] litigation."

Also read: Has Hollywood Ignited an Intern Uprising? Examining the Brewing Revolution

According to the request, the Second Circuit Court has yet to articulate a test to define employment versus internship. The letter also named the recent Hearst lawsuit as using different criteria to define what is an "intern."

The plaintiffs' attorneys oppose this application and have submitted a letter of opposition. Judge William H. Pauley III set a conference for July 11 to discuss these matters.

Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.