A hearing in Manhattan on August 24 could significantly enlarge the class action suit two Black Swan interns brought last year against Fox Searchlight. In an order made public today (read it here), Judge William Pauley III has agreed to a conference next week on Alex Footman and Eric Glatt’s request to amend their suit. “Plaintiffs will seek to broaden the scope of the case to include all interns who participated in Fox Entertainment Group’s (‘FEG’s”) internship program,” wrote their lawyer Rachel Bien in an August 2 memo to the judge. The duo also want to separate the class of interns for their suit into “Corporate Interns,” those who worked through the FEG program, and “Production Interns,” those who worked on films that Fox Searchlight co-produced. To that end the amended suit will add two new plaintiffs, Eden Antalik and Kanene Gratts. The former worked through the FEG program and the latter worked on 2009’s (500) Days of Summer, a Searchlight co-produced film. The legal documents also state that “Ms. Gratts would seek to bring classwide claims under California’s Unfair Competition law for unpaid minimum wages on behalf of Production Interns who worked in California.
Fox had no comment today on the potential expansion of the suit. Footman and Glatt took their action on behalf of themselves and more than 100 Fox Searchlight interns last September to seek back wages for work that they did that they feel they should have been paid for. Then suit also aimed to cease what it says is the studio’s incorrect use of students for what is supposed to be training similar to that provided by an educational institution, not getting coffee and other grunt work. Early last October, after the initial suit was filed, Fox fired back that the two were never actually Searchlight interns and were actually working for Black Swan director Darren Aronofsky’s production company. “These are completely meritless claims aimed solely at getting press coverage for the litigants and their attorneys,” Fox said. Fox Searchlight isn’t the only company put under the intern spotlight recently. In March of this year, former Charlie Rose Show intern Lucy Bickerton filed a class action suit against the PBS show alleging it exploits its interns. Footman and Glatt are represented by Rachel Bein and Adam T. Klein of New York firm Outten & Golden LLP.
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