An antitrust suit brought by animation workers against DreamWorks Animation, Disney and a number of other companies has been thrown out of court by a federal judge.
U.S. District Judge Lucy Kohl ruled last week that the plaintiffs failed to bring the suit in time to meet requirements under a Federal statute of limitations. The lawsuit was brought by artist Robert Nitsch, David Wentworth and digital artist Georgia Cano who worked for companies named as defendants.
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The complaint accused the studios of colluding not to make offers to sign away animation artists from one another. This, of course, kept said workers from testing the market to get paid what they were worth. If true then said practice would have constituted a violation of Federal anti-trust laws as well as labor laws.
The judge wrote in her decision, “As Plaintiffs have failed to allege an essential element of fraudulent concealment, and the Court has also concluded that Plaintiffs’ claims, as currently alleged, are time barred, the Court grants Defendants’ motion to dismiss Plaintiffs’ CAC.”
“The four-year statute of limitations ran on Plaintiffs’ claims as early as 2008, and at best in 2011. The Court therefore concludes that Plaintiffs’ claims are time barred absent sufficient allegations that Defendants engaged in “continuing violations” after September 8, 2010, i.e., four years prior to the first-filed complaint in this consolidated action, or that Defendants’ fraudulent concealment should toll the statute of limitations, ” she wrote.
The motion to dismiss was brought in January by the defendants who argued that the Justice Department had already investigated the same allegations and had found no evidence of wrongdoing in 2009. They asked, in effect, “why did the plaintiffs wait so long after the Justice department concluded its investigation to bring the suit?”
In their formal brief the defendants asked, “The court might ask what, exactly, these plaintiffs have uncovered that was somehow missed by the industrious High-Tech plaintiffs. The short answer is: nothing.”
But the suit was dismissed without prejudice which means that the plaintiffs may refile should they come up with new grounds to do so.