Illusionist David Copperfield is poised to settle a wage dispute with employees. For the last several years, Copperfield has performed a magic show at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino. The Las Vegas show is a major tourist attraction and requires services from support employees. However, some of those employees have alleged that Copperfield and four of the companies he controls did not adequately compensate them for overtime for a period extending from January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2013.
The employees, who were mainly stagehands and employees of Copperfield’s magic lab, joined together in February 2014 to bring the suit. The complaint alleged “a system of coercion and deception aimed at denying employees their rights to overtime pay.”
Copperfield’s camp seems determined to bring a swift end to the action as his legal team has proposed a $552,282 settlement. According to a spokesperson for Copperfield, the illusionist made the decision to settle so that the employees might have an opportunity to benefit from the settlement. Otherwise, the case might have been mired in a several years’ long legal battle that would have cost both sides a great deal more money.
Under the agreement Copperfield and his companies admit no wrongdoing. The $552,282 will be broken down into several parts with $268,089 going to plaintiffs in the action, another $140,600 for other potential plaintiffs who may opt in and about $143,600 in lawyer’s fees. The breakdown means that each of the employees will receive a little more than $6,000, a fairly significant amount when compared with the settlements of other class action suits.
The settlement must still be approved by the U.S. District Court. Judge Gloria Navarro has already approved a motion that defines who is included in the settlement. An additional hearing in May of 2015 will decide the fairness of the proposed settlement.
Copperfield’s decision to settle the matter early seems like a prudent one that is likely to be satisfactory to all involved. Such a strategy not only minimizes legal costs, but also allows plaintiffs and defendants to move forward.