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CBS’s Wage Dispute With Workers Settled for $9.97M

Feb. 6, 2019, 2:31 PM

The class action settlement between CBS Television Studios and workers seeking overtime wages was approved by a federal district court in New York Feb. 5.

The $9.97 million settlement, which included $3.32 million in attorneys’ fees, is procedurally and substantively fair, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York said.

The suit was filed by parking production assistants, who secure lots and streets on production sites during the filming of television shows. They claimed CBS didn’t properly pay them overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act and New York law.

The settlement is procedurally fair because it was reached through arm’s-length negotiations after being evaluated by experienced counsel on both sides, the opinion by Judge Robert W. Lehrburger said.

The settlement is substantively fair because the issues in the case were complex and the class reacted positively to the settlement, the court said. It reflects the risks in proceeding with the suit, and each class member will recover 100 percent of their overtime damages, the court said.

The fee award was approved because it reflected the significant amount of time class counsel spent investigating the claims, assessing viable parties, meeting with over 100 possible class members, and collecting and reviewing thousands of pages of data, the court said.

Counsel should also be awarded for being expedient, the court said. Also, no class member objected to the fee award, and courts regularly grant awards of one-third the settlement in wage and hour cases, the court said.

Valli Kane & Vagnini, LLP represented the workers. Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP (New York) represented CBS.

The case is Hines v. CBS Television Studios, S.D.N.Y., No. 15-cv-07882, 2/5/19.

To contact the reporter on this story: Bernie Pazanowski in Washington at bpazanowski@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jo-el J. Meyer at jmeyer@bloomberglaw.com; C. Reilly Larson at rlarson@bloomberglaw.com