Thursday, August 18, 2005

The Ass in Class.. Action, that is.

I love litigation, especially when I stand to benefit from it.

Coming home from the gym today, I found a fun letter in my mailbox - a notice of a class action lawsuit:

"In simple terms, the class action lawsuit alleges, among other things, that many persons who worked in the Motion Picture and/or Broadcasting Industries and/or who worked for and/or received payroll checkes from the entities listed above (a) did not recieve timely payments following their last day worked in accordance with Labor Code Sections... or (c) did not recieve overtime premuim under certain curcumstances. Based on these claims, the lassuit seeks penalties under various sections of the California Labor Code."

Blah, blah blah..

To make a long story short, the payroll companies are being sued for not paying up on time.

Good thing, too.

One of the tricks certian production companies used to pull was having the payroll company cut the checks, but not paying them the money for the payroll, so they couldn't send the check out. This resulted in the infuriating experience of calling the payroll company and having them say, "Well, we have the checks, but we can't send them out because Propaganda (the production company most notorious for doing this) hasn't sent us a check yet."

I could fill up three or four posts with Tricks We Used To Pull In Order To Get Paid.

This means that I have to gather W-2's (from 1996 - present), which is going to suck. I think the satanic CPA still has them all at her office.

It looks like members who submit proof of being paid (by entertainment industry payroll companies) an aggregate 50 thousand or more over the past 9 years will get a check for not more than $550, depending on the number of claims submitted. There is also something about check stub violations but it requires proof of actual damages.

That's crazy.


Anonymous said...

Even with the unions behind you, that shit happens?

Anonymous said...

"Tricks We Used To Pull In Order To Get Paid"

I would *LOVE* to read some of those!

Peggy Archer said...

Here are four of my favorites:

1. Marching into the production office and refusing to leave until paid - in cash. This works best when there are about 10 people who've just come from work and have been sweating all day. Removing shoes en masse is optional.

2. Seizing assets in lieu of payment. The key is to seize things that are a pain in the ass to replace and cause maximum hassle factor while keeping you in the 'misdemeanor theft' category should charges be filed against you. All the computer cables in the entire office, for example, or all the doorhandles in the building.

3. Barricades. This only works if there's only one door into and out of the accountant's office. You just sit there. They have to come out sooner or later.

4. Mechanic's Lein. This is a legal document allowing me to go to the lab and seize prints, negatives, etc. and hold them until I'm paid. This doesn't work for music videos, though. By the time the court grants one, the video's already been released.

Peggy Archer said...

Oh, and yes, this still happens - but not so much anymore. This mostly happened with non union production companies, although recently I got stiffed on a low budget feature and the union didn't do anything. Fuckers.

Peggy Archer said...

Oh, and number 5 - taking an ad out in Variety announcing that the company's insovlent and can't make payroll.

That one worked FAST. We got checks in under 24 hours.

Doom/Blondie said...

That sounds like some complicated shit.


Anonymous said...

I received the same letter in the mail. And having worked with the plaintiff in this class action lawsuit, and also being aware of his other illegal acts on certain productions -- your settlement will be ill gotten gain. Don't participate if you believe in Karma. Good luck to you!