TV Writers Force WGA To Hand Over Data For Class Action

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TV Writers Force WGA To Hand Over Data For Class Action

Mon Aug 18, 2008 @ 06:59PM PST

Posted by Eriq Gardner

Pencil A California Appeals Court has ordered the WGA to turn over demographic data to a protesting sect of TV writers who want to use the information to build an age discrimination class action against  studios, networks, production companies and talent agencies.

In 2000, a group of TV writers filed a class action lawsuit against many in the TV industry. Since then, the lawsuit has evolved slower than the plot of "Lost." It stalled in the discovery phase as the plaintiffs demanded access to their union's data. In response to a subpoena, the WGA sent a privacy notice to its 47,000 members advising them of their right to object to disclosure of personal information on privacy grounds. Some 7,700 members raised objection, which the WGA took as a legal reason why they didn't have to disclose. A trial court sustained member objections and the plaintiffs appealed.

On Thursday, the 2nd Circuit overturned the trial court and granted the plaintiff-writers access to the requested information. The panel concluded that though "demographic data is personal information, it is barely sensitive information," and dismissed arguments that the decision would lead to a slippery slope for broader information requests.

To read the decision, click here.

Nikki Finke is also reporting that one of the defendants, ICM, may settle its end of the dispute.

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The Hollywood Reporter, Esq. blog focuses on how the entertainment and media industries are impacted and influenced by the law. It is edited by Matthew Belloni with contributions from veteran legal reporter Eriq Gardner and others. Before joining The Hollywood Reporter, Belloni was a lawyer at an entertainment litigation firm in Los Angeles. He writes a column for THR devoted to entertainment law. Gardner is a New York-based writer and legal journalist. Send tips or comments to [email protected]

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