Charlie Rose Settlement With Unpaid Interns Approved

Law360 Eric Hornbeck
June 28, 2013

A New York state judge approved a class action settlement on Friday for PBS television host Charlie Rose’s unpaid interns, who were represented by the same law firm that won an influential federal court ruling for unpaid interns earlier this month.    

Judge O. Peter Sherwood approved the unopposed $250,000 settlement, which was provisionally approved in December, over alleged violations of New York’s minimum wage requirements during a fairness hearing in his downtown Manhattan courtroom.

“The court finds that the settlement is fair, reasonable and adequate, and under those circumstances the settlement is going to be approved,” the judge said at the end of the hearing.

Judge Sherwood refused to allow two of the class members who filed their notices late to be included, but he did grant a request by the plaintiffs’ attorneys at Outten & Golden LLP to pay the two class members’ claims out of their $50,000 in attorney’s fees.

Plaintiffs’ attorney Justin M. Swartz of Outten & Golden noted that the settlement would pay interns nearly everything they could hope to recover if the case went to trial.

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The plaintiffs’ firm, Outten & Golden, also represents unpaid inters for a Fox Entertainment Group Inc. unit who worked on the film “Black Swan” who have accused the company in Manhattan federal court of not paying them for supposed educational internships that mostly involved menial tasks such as running errands and making copies.

On June 11, U.S. District Judge William H. Pauley III found that the interns should have been classified as employees because they provided free labor to Fox but got little of educational value in the bargain.

Outten & Golden also represents a group of unpaid Hearst Corp. interns who have been denied class certification.

The plaintiffs are represented by Justin M. Swartz of Outten & Golden LLP.

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The case is Lucy Bickerton et al. v. Charles Rose et al., case No. 650780/2012, in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, County of New York.