Fox Searchlight has much to be thankful for right about now, with the Second Circuit granting its motions to appeal both the class certification, and the district judge's grant of summary judgment in favor of the interns, reports The Hollywood Reporter.
Two cases, starting in the Southern District of New York, involving questions of whether interns should actually be considered employees are making their way up the appellate ladder -- and companies all over the country are watching closely.
Black Swan and Hearst Interns
Though both cases started out in SDNY, both came to the exact opposite outcomes. Former interns on the film Black Swan sued Fox Searchlight for violating federal and state labor laws. District Judge William Pauley granted class certification, and declining to apply the "primary beneficiary test" granted summary judgment for the former interns finding that they were, in fact, employees.
Across the hall, Judge Harold Bauer came to quite different conclusions when it came to a former Hearst magazine intern suing Hearst for violation of state and federal wage and hour laws, reports The New York Times. Judge Bauer declined to certify a class, and denied the former intern's motion for partial summary judgment. He then certified his opinion and order for interlocutory appeal.
Second Circuit Grants Appeals
On the eve of Thanksgiving, the Second Circuit gave Fox Searchlight and the former Hearst intern something to be thankful for. The court granted Fox's petitions to appeal class certification and the grant of summary judgment in the interns' favor. The Second Circuit also granted the Hearst intern's petition to appeal the interlocutory order. Against Fox's objections, the Second Circuit ordered that the cases be heard in tandem. In its filings, Fox stated: "The cases have no factual overlap and they raise distinct legal questions separate from the intern test," reports The Hollywood Reporter, but the court did not agree.
The progress of this case will no doubt be watched closely by many -- especially by lawyers in industries such as media and entertainment, which make wide use of interns. We'll patiently be waiting this one out with you to see how the Second Circuit decides these cases.
- NY Media Intern Battle Headed for Interlocutory Appeal to 2nd Cir (FindLaw's U.S. Second Circuit Blog)
- Conde Nast Intern Reforms an 'Empty Gesture'? (FindLaw's In House Blog)
- Fox Searchlight Wins Appeal Rights In 'Black Swan' Intern Class Action (Deadline)