David Copperfield Agrees to $500,000 Settlement in Employee Lawsuit

Magician had been accused of stiffing employees working at his Vegas magic show

UPDATE, Monday 2 p.m.: A spokesperson for David Copperfield has issued a statement on the proposed settlement, saying that the Copperfield team settled so that the employees can benefit from the money, instead of engaging in a protracted legal battle.

“There are two sides to every story, and even the settlement agreement states that there was no wrongdoing,” the spokesperson told TheWrap. “The Copperfield team settled because they prefer the employees benefit from the money rather than a three year fight where the only people that win are the lawyers.”

Previously….

Looks like David Copperfield is ready to make a big chunk of money disappear from his bank account.

The famous magician is looking to settle a lawsuit brought against him by former and current employees of his show at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, according to court papers obtained by TheWrap.

A U.S. district court judge in Nevada has approved a motion for preliminary approval of settlement, which would find Copperfield and the other defendants shelling out $552,282.74.

The lawsuit was filed in February 2014 by a group of employees from his Vegas magic show claiming that they were stiffed out of overtime pay that was due to them.

The suit accused Copperfield of “consciously implement[ing] a system of coercion and deception aimed at denying employees their rights to overtime pay.”

According to the joint motion for preliminary approval of the settlement, the proposed settlement amount breaks down to a back-pay award of $181,141.37, which was “doubled to take into account applicable liquidated damages,” as well as “an additional $190,000 as a Named Plaintiffs Award to be divided among the fifteen (15) named plaintiffs.”

In addition to the plaintiffs named, the settlement would cover opt-in plaintiffs including all “non-exempt present and former employees of Defendant Backstage Employment and Referral, Inc. who were employed at any time between January 1, 2012 and December 31, 2013” as part of Copperfield’s Las Vegas magic show or as executive assistants to Copperfield “indirectly related to the performance of his show.”

Under the proposed settlement, the defendants — who, in addition to Copperfield, include Christopher Kenner, David Copperfield’s Disappearing Inc., Backstage Employment and Referral Inc, and Imagine Nation Company — “continue to deny liability under any of the Plaintiff’s claims.”

If the settlement goes through, class members of the suit would receive “on average $6,355.84 in overtime pay and liquidated damages,” which is “very significant when compared to similar collective action cases,” the motion for preliminary approval of the settlement says.

A fairness hearing for the proposed settlement is scheduled for May 26.

Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.