Agency will donate $150K to fund assisting older scribes

CAA and reps of aging scribes have settled of a class-action case alleging age discrimination in the representation of TV writers.

CAA had been the lone holdout in 23 separate class actions that were filed a decade ago by the writers against the major television networks, production studios and talent agencies. The other 22 cases settled over the past six years for a combined amount of $74.5 million.

CAA has agreed to make a $150,000 donation and provide limited consulting services to the non-profit Fund for the Future that assists older TV writers. The announcement was made jointly by CAA and lead counsel Steven M. Sprenger of Washington, D.C. and is subject to final approval by state court in Los Angeles.

CAA said that it strongly denies the writers’ allegations and states that its representation practices fully comply with the law and reflect its commitment to equal opportunity. It also noted that it has a long-standing practice against discrimination and that it represents substantial numbers of writers who are 40 years of age or older.

“Based on the evidence, it is not likely that CAA would be found liable for age discrimination with respect to the matters alleged in the complaint,” Sprenger said.

In addition to CAA’s donation to Fund for the Future, CAA will offer the Fund for the Future up to 60 hours of consulting services relating to production and distribution of online content over the next three years. CAA will pay nothing to the plaintiffs, settlement class members, or their attorneys.

The Fund for the Future was created after 19 of the other 22 cases settled in 2010.

The class-action settlement announced in 2010, which resolved 19 separate actions, called for payment of $70 million to affected writers.

The massive age-discrimination case was filed by writers over age 40 in 2000, alleging they were victims of systematic age discrimination by talent agents who aided and abetted networks and studios by refusing to represent and refer older writers for work at the studios.

ICM and Broder Kurland had reached the first settlements in the case in August 2008 for $5 million.

When the suit was filed in 2000, named plaintiffs included Tracy Keenan Wynn, who was 55 at the time and whose work includes “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman”; Ann Marcus, whose credits include “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman,” “Knots Landing” and “Falcon Crest”; Jay Moriarty, 54 at the time with credits on “All in the Family,” “The Jeffersons” and “Maude”; and Art Eisenson, who was 58 at that point with credits including “Kojak.”

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