Another Unpaid Intern Suit Settles: Talent Agency Throws in Towel

By William Peacock, Esq. on December 26, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

We've seen studios and publishers go up against armies of unpaid interns, with mixed results.

So what happens when an agency that represents the talent that is the lifeblood of those industries runs into its own little unpaid intern issue? It does what many before it have done: settled.

That is the rumored status of the case between ICM Partners and the talent agency's former interns. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the two sides have reached a proposed settlement, avoiding a novel issue of arbitration agreements for unpaid interns.

Unpaid Assistants ... Basically

According to THR, the lead plaintiff was Kimberly Behzadi, an intern from 2012. She was joined by a second plaintiff, Jason Rindenau, who interned for the agency in 2011. Both claim that they handled script coverage (reading scripts and writing summaries and evaluations), as well as typical assistant duties.

THR's prior coverage of the case paints quite the portrait of what was shaping up to become an intriguing matchup. ICM asserted that the claims were covered by an arbitration agreement, while Behzadi argued that the agreement was prospective and was signed when she was promoted to a paid position as an assistant. She also argued that the agreement was unconscionable and sought certification of a class of dozens of unpaid interns from 2011 and 2012.

True Terms of Settlement Unknown

Sadly for us law nerds, the dueling arguments will never be resolved conclusively. As we mentioned, the case settled after the parties went into private mediation. It really would have been interesting to see how a court would deal with a party trying to enforce an arbitration agreement upon an unpaid intern.

So far, we haven't heard a whole lot about what the settlement actually entails -- THR simply reports that the sides have worked out the framework of a settlement and that details have not yet been made public. Also, we assume the deal will only cover the named plaintiffs, since no class was ever certified.

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