The Creative Artists Agency settled a class-action lawsuit filed by a group of television writers claiming that the agency had discriminated against them by not agreeing to represent them.
The suit was the last of 23 cases filed 10 years ago by the writers against CAA, the major television networks, production studios and other talent agencies. The other suits were settled over the past six years for a combined $74.5 million.
As part of the settlement, CAA has agreed to donate $150,000 and provide up to 60 hours of consulting services to the non-profit organization Fund for the Future, which assists older television writers, for the next three years.
Despite the settlement, CAA was adamant that it had not discriminated against the plaintiffs.
"CAA strongly denies the writers’ allegations and states that its representation practices fully comply with the law and reflect its commitment to equal opportunity," a joint statement issued by the agency and the plaintiffs reads. "CAA also notes that it has a long-standing practice against discrimination and that it represents substantial numbers of writers who are 40 years of age or older."
Washington, D.C.-based attorney Steven M. Sprenger, who served as lead counsel for the 115 named plaintiffs and the settlement class, admitted that he had an uphill battle in proving his clients' allegations.
“Based on the evidence, it is not likely that CAA would be found liable for age discrimination with respect to the matters alleged in the complaint,” Sprenger said in the statement.
CAA's counsel in the matter, Anthony J. Oncidi, perhaps not surprisingly, echoed that sentiment.
“The trial already had begun. We are confident that CAA would not have been found liable once we had finished presenting the evidence and completed the trial," Oncidi said.