Disney, Pixar, and Lucasfilm Settle Anti-Poaching Antitrust Class Action for $100 Million

Posted on: February 24th, 2017 by Steve Larson

Walt Disney Co., Pixar and Lucasfilm Ltd. have agreed to a $100 million deal that would settle a class action in which they were alleged to perpetuate a “no poach” agreement with other companies over the hiring of animators. The defendants agreed to pay the money to settle allegations that they violated federal and state antitrust and unfair competition laws by entering into agreements with other companies in the animation industry to not poach one another’s employees and by sharing compensation information with the aim of depressing wages.

Animators will receive a prorated share of the money, based on their individual compensation during the class period compared to the total compensation during the period by all members of the class, which still must be approved by the federal judge in the Northern District of California.

The settlement would represent the last settlement in the class action. Dreamworks already agreed to pay $50 million, and other defendants, including Blue Sky Studios and Sony Pictures Corp. agreeing to settle for a combined $19 million.

The suit was filed in September 2014. The allegations were raised after the U.S. Department of Justice launched a probe into the hiring practices of Silicon Valley businesses. In 2015, U.S. District Judge Lucy H. Koh approved a $415 million settlement in a separate class action accusing Apple, Google, and others of striking a deal not to poach one another’s software engineers.

The case is In re: Animation Workers Antitrust Litigation, case number 5:14-cv-04062, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.