The following public statement about the settlement on behalf of Plaintiffs, Settlement Classes, and Plaintiffs' attorneys has been issued by Paul Sprenger, Lead Class Counsel in the TV Writers' Cases:
Public Statement by Paul Sprenger, Lead Class Counsel - January 2010
"I am happy to confirm that a settlement agreement has been reached with all but one of the defendants in the Television Writers’ cases, subject to the Court’s approval. Except as to the Creative Artists Agency, this settlement ends almost 10 years of litigation brought on behalf of older television writers against the major television studios, networks and talent agencies.
I am delighted with this settlement – I think it’s great! And I’m very proud of the work that so many put into it. I speak for all class counsel in recommending that all plaintiffs and settlement class members accept the settlement.
Class Counsel – and I include myself here – feel tremendously honored to represent such a distinguished and talented group of writers in these cases.
I don’t have any other comments for the press, but I’ve prepared a longer written statement about the case and the settlement that I think will answer all of your questions. Can I fax or email it to you now?
The parties also prepared the following press release that may be issued to media outlets:
Networks, Producers and Talent Agencies
Reach Preliminary Agreement to Settle with TV Writers
Los Angeles, January 22, 2010 -- Seventeen major television networks and production studios and seven talent agencies today announced the settlement of nineteen long standing cases that allege intentional and unintentional age discrimination in the selection and representation of television writers. The announcement was made jointly by the defendants and Paul Sprenger of Washington D.C., Lead Counsel for the 157 named plaintiffs and the settlement classes. The settlement is subject to final approval by the California Superior Court in and for the County of Los Angeles.
The defendants strongly deny the plaintiffs’ allegations and state that their hiring and/or representation practices fully comply with the law and reflect their commitment to equal employment opportunity. They also note that they all have long-standing anti-discrimination policies and regularly employ or represent substantial numbers of writers over the age of forty.
The parties have been litigating these claims for almost ten years, including several appeals to the California Court of Appeal and the California Supreme Court. The defendant networks and production companies (including ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, The WB, UPN, Columbia TriStar Television, Inc., DW SKG TV L.L.C., Universal Media Studios, Regency Television, Spelling Television, The Carsey-Werner Company LLC, Touchstone Television, Twentieth Century Fox Television, and Warner Bros. Television) and the defendant talent agencies (APA, The Endeavor Agency, The Gersh Agency, Paradigm Talent & Literary Agency, Shapiro-Lichtman, UTA, and the William Morris Agency LLC) have agreed, subject to court approval, collectively to pay a total of $70 million to settle all claims against them and their affiliated companies, including class members’ alleged damages, costs and attorneys’ fees. Approximately $2.5 million of this total settlement amount will be used to create a Fund for the Future, which will issue grants and loans to settlement class members to further their writing careers and study ways to supplement their pensions and improve access to medical insurance.
Approximately two-thirds of the $70 million settlement payment will be paid by insurance carriers.
The settlement provides a process for settlement class members to apply for an allocated cash distribution from the settlement fund. The Fund for the Future, which will be governed by a board composed of settlement class members, will issue grants and loans for approved projects on a competitive basis.
“I speak for all class counsel in recommending that all settlement class members accept the settlement. We are honored to represent a distinguished and talented group of clients and class members,” stated Sprenger. Plaintiffs and the settlement classes were also represented by, among others, the law firms of Sprenger & Lang, PLLC, Kator Parks & Weiser, PLLC, Law Office of Daniel Wolf, Schwartz, Steinsapir, Dohrmann & Sommers LLP, the AARP Foundation Litigation, Katz, Marshall & Banks, and Blecher & Collins.
“We were fully prepared to oppose class certification and would have prevailed at trial if necessary,” said Seth E. Pierce, of Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp LLP, Defendants’ Liaison Counsel. “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.” Defendants were represented by, among others, the law firms of
Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp LLP, Epstein Turner & Song, P.C., Glaser, Weil, Fink, Jacobs, Howard & Shapiro, LLP, Kaye Scholer LLP, Judith Salkow Shapiro, P.C., Morgan Lewis& Bockius LLP, Munger, Tolles & Olsen LLP, Murchison & Cummings LLP, Paul Hastings Janofsky & Walker LLP, and Proskauer Rose LLP.
For more information about this settlement, please visit the Claims Administrator website at
or Plaintiffs’ litigation website www.TVWritersCounsel.com.
Plaintiffs’ Contact: Paul Sprenger at (202) 518-2021
Plaintiffs’ PR Agent, Jamie Diaferia at 212 687 0935 or
917 602 0545
Defendants’ Contact: Seth E. Pierce, Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp LLP, at 310 312 3221 or 310 569 0044