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United States District Court for the Northern District of California, San Jose Division
August 20, 2015, Decided; August 20, 2015, Filed
MASTER DOCKET NO.: 14-CV-04062-LHK
[*1178] ORDER DENYING DEFENDANTS' JOINT MOTION TO DISMISS
Re: Dkt. No. 126
Defendants DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc.; The Walt Disney Company; Lucasfilm Ltd., LLC; Pixar; ImageMovers, LLC; Two Pic MC LLC (f/k/a ImageMovers Digital); Sony Pictures Animation Inc.; Sony Pictures Imageworks Inc.; and Blue Sky Studios (collectively, "Defendants") have [**4] filed a joint motion to dismiss the second amended complaint. ("Mot."), ECF No. 126. Pursuant to Civil Local Rule 7-1(b), the Court finds this motion suitable for disposition without oral argument and VACATES the hearing set for September 17, 2015. Having considered the parties' submissions, the relevant law, and the record in this case, the Court DENIES Defendants' motion.
This is a consolidated class action brought by former employees alleging antitrust [*1179] claims against their former employers, various animation studios with principal places of business in California.1 Plaintiffs contend that Defendants engaged in a conspiracy to fix and suppress employee compensation and to restrict employee mobility.
A. Factual Background
The Court draws the following factual background from the uncontroverted allegations in the Second Amended Complaint ("SAC"), and from judicially noticed documents.2 Unless otherwise noted, Plaintiffs' allegations are presumed to [**5] be true for purposes of ruling on Defendants' motion to dismiss. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 173 L. Ed. 2d 868 (2009).
1. The Parties
Defendants include the following animation and visual effects studios: Blue Sky Studios, Inc. ("Blue Sky"), a Delaware corporation with its principal place of business in Greenwich, CT; DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc. ("DreamWorks"), a Delaware corporation with its principal place of business in Glendale, CA; ImageMovers Digital LLC, a Delaware corporation with its principal place of business in Burbank, CA; Lucasfilm Ltd., LLC ("Lucasfilm"), a California corporation with its principal place of business in San Francisco, CA;3 Pixar, a California corporation with its principal place of business in Emeryville, CA;4 Sony Pictures Animation, Inc. and Sony Pictures Imageworks, Inc. (collectively, "the Sony Defendants"), California corporations with their principal places of business in Culver City, CA; and The Walt Disney Company ("Disney") is a Delaware corporation with its principal place of business in Burbank, CA.5 SAC ¶¶ 22-29.
[*1180] Plaintiffs Robert A. Nitsch, Jr., Georgia Cano, and David Wentworth (collectively, "Plaintiffs"), are artists and engineers that were previously employed by four of the named Defendants. Id. ¶¶ 19-21. Nitsch worked for Sony Picture Imageworks in 2004 and DreamWorks from 2007 to 2011. Id. ¶ 19. Cano worked for Walt Disney Feature Animation from 2004 to 2005, ImageMovers Digital in 2010, and at various other visual effects and animation studios. Id. ¶ 20. Wentworth worked at ImageMovers Digital from 2007 to 2010. Id. ¶ 21. Nitsch is a resident of Massachusetts, and Cano and Wentworth are residents of California. Id. ¶¶ 19-21.
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
123 F. Supp. 3d 1175 *; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 111262 **; 2015-2 Trade Cas. (CCH) P79,429
IN RE ANIMATION WORKERS ANTITRUST LITIGATION. THIS DOCUMENT RELATES TO: ALL ACTIONS
Prior History: In re Animation Workers Antitrust Litig., 87 F. Supp. 3d 1195, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 44922 (N.D. Cal., Apr. 3, 2015)
conspiracy, Plaintiffs', fraudulent concealment, Defendants', allegations, employees, concealment, High-Tech, email, studios, recruiting, motion to dismiss, affirmative act, Animation, misleading, alleged conspiracy, factual allegations, salary, pretextual, conspirator, suppress, human resources, secret, anti-solicitation, competitors, meetings, co-conspirators, documents, Digital, poach
Evidence, Judicial Notice, General Overview, Civil Procedure, Defenses, Demurrers & Objections, Motions to Dismiss, Failure to State Claim, Pleadings, Heightened Pleading Requirements, Fraud Claims, Statute of Limitations, Tolling of Statute of Limitations, Fraudulent Concealment, Burdens of Proof, Allocation, Antitrust & Trade Law, Sherman Act, Responses, Motions to Dismiss, Monopolies & Monopolization, Conspiracy to Monopolize, Motions to Strike