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Biz settles suits over pay

L.A. Superior judge approved settlements Friday

Hollywood studios and producers have agreed to a pair of class-action settlements of lawsuits — one for $5.35 million for late payments to discharged employees and one for $1 million for disputed overtime to police officers who provided security and traffic control to sets.

Los Angeles Superior Judge Carl J. West granted preliminary approval of the settlements Friday.

Action involving discharged employees alleged violations of California labor law providing for timely payment to employees and affects more than 200,000 Californians who worked on features, TV, commercials and musicvideos between 1996 and June 2005. Settlement negotiations began three years ago as the court consolidated more than 20 similar lawsuits; the settlement also provides for additional training for industry payroll accountants.

The action involving police covered about 300 LAPD officers who worked in excess of 12 hours per day and alleged nonpayment of double-time pay between 2000 and June 2005.

Plaintiffs were repped by Alan Harris of Harris & Ruble and Maxwell Blecher and Donald Pepperman of Blecher & Collins.

Info about participation in the settlements will be available at Web sites Motionpicturesettlement.com and Motionpicturelapsettlement.com, which were not yet up late Monday.

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