Hollywood Writers’ Ageism Suit Settles for $70M

January 27, 2010 (PLANSPONSOR.com) – A decade-old age discrimination lawsuit filed by a group of Hollywood writers over age 40 has been settled for $70 million.

The Hollywood newspaper Variety reported the suit, filed in 2000, alleged that talent agents helped the television networks and movie studios discriminate against older writers by refusing to represent the older writers or refer them for studio writing assignments.

The suit named 24 networks, production studios and talent agencies as defendants in the class action litigation. The settlement still must get final approval from a California state court judge.

An attorney for the defendants denied the ageism allegations, but asserted that it made sense to settle rather than continue battling in court.

“We were fully prepared to oppose class certification and would have prevailed at trial if necessary,” said attorney Seth E. Pierce of Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp, according to Variety. “But with years of disruptive litigation remaining and all networks and major television studios and talent agencies participating in the settlement, it made sense to bring these protracted cases to a close.”

The TV defendants include ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, the WB, UPN, Columbia TriStar Television, DreamWorks TV, Universal Media Studios, Regency Television, Spelling Television, the Carsey-Werner Co., Touchstone Television, Twentieth Century Fox Television, and Warner Bros. Television.