EA settles labor-dispute lawsuit

Publisher will shell out $15.6 million to clear the docket of Kirshenbaum v. EA, as judge expected to OK settlement shortly. A San Mateo Superior Court judge is expected to soon approve a negotiated settlement between former Electronic Arts employee Jamie Kirshenbaum (and others) and Electronic Arts. The case, Jamie Kirshenbaum vs. Electronic Arts, Inc., was previously filed in court on July 29, 2004.

In a statement released after trading had concluded in New York today, EA alerted investors to the settlement.In the complaint, Kirshenbaum alleged that EA had “improperly classified some of its employees, including ‘animators,’ ‘modelers,’ ‘texture artists,’ ‘lighters,’ ‘background effects artists,’ and ‘environmental artists’ as exempt from overtime, and therefore failed to pay those employees overtime compensation.”

Kirshenbaum’s initial complaint sought to establish a “class” that could press its claims for back pay against Electronic Arts. The settlement today renders the complaint moot in the eyes of the law, but by any standard, Kirshenbaum has come out on top. The terms of the settlement will see Electronic Arts pay out $15.6 million, to be distributed to all class members and plaintiffs’ attorneys. A portion of that $15.6 million will go directly to the named plaintiffs (Kirshenbaum, Mark West, Eric Kearns, and Gianni Aliotti) as well as into a fund to cover all administrative costs. The case will be dismissed as a result.


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