One of an increasing number of intern lawsuits to hit the entertainment industry reaches a mutually agreeable conclusion
Score one for the interns.
Kevin Hicks, a former intern on the Nicktoons series "Alien Dawn," has settled his lawsuit against the show's producers, Hicks' attorney told TheWrap on Wednesday.
Hicks sued Crook Brothers Productions and Schwarz Media Group in June. His complaint alleged that Crook Brothers had violated the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and New York State labor laws by not paying Hicks and other interns the minimum wage. According to the suit, Hicks worked 10 to 16 hours a day. The interns performed jobs such as moving boxes, driving vans, assembling props and appearing as extras on the series.
Jesse Strauss, who filed the suit with Maurice Pianko, said told TheWrap that "[w]e're very proud" of Kevin for standing up for intern rights, and called the situation over unpaid interns an "industry-wide problem."
In a statement, Pianko and Strauss said that the "parties had reached a "satisfactory monetary settlement." Pianko went on to thank the defendants for "resolving the matter quickly and fairly," but added, "unfortunately, the use of unpaid interns is still rampant in the television and film industries. With this settlement, [Pianko's organization] Intern Justice is hopeful that there will be a shift in this trend and as a result, interns will begin receiving at least minimum wage in return for their services."
The suit had sought class and collective-action status for Crook Brothers Productions interns, along with double back wages, attorney's fees and costs.
Hicks' suit was one of a growing number filed by interns against various companies — including Gawker, Conde Nast and Hearst — in recent months.
In December, interns on Charlie Rose's PBS show were awarded more than $207,900. And in May, a judge ruled that two interns on the Fox Searchlight film "Black Swan" were entitled to pay for their work on the movie.
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.