SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - A federal judge dismissed a consolidated class action that accused DreamWorks, Disney, Pixar and other animation studios of conspiring to suppress wages.
The lawsuits , brought by former animators and other employees, claimed the companies stifled competition by agreeing not to cold call each others' employees and by setting wage and salary ranges among themselves.
The lawsuits are similar to a 2010 class action against Apple, Google and others, including Disney subsidiaries LucasFilm and Pixar, that claimed their CEOs made "gentleman's agreements" to eliminate competition by not poaching each others' employees.
U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh, who is also overseeing the cartoon studio cases, preliminarily approved a $415 million settlement for the 2010 class in March.
The defendants in the latest consolidated class action were DreamWorks Animation, the Walt Disney Company, Lucasfilm, Pixar, ImageMovers, Two Pic fka ImageMovers Digital, Sony Pictures Animation, Sony Pictures Imageworks and Blue Sky Studios.
In a joint motion to dismiss, they argued among other things that the plaintiffs' claims have expired due to statute of limitations.
Koh granted the motion, concluding that "the four-year statute of limitations ran on plaintiff's claims as early as 2008, and at best in 2011."
She also found that the plaintiffs failed to "allege an essential element of fraudulent concealment."
She gave the plaintiffs 30 days to file a second amended complaint.
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