Successful comedian Louis C.K.’s time in federal court has finally come to an end. Louis C.K. is a member of multiple unions, and from these unions were three union-industry plans requiring Louis to make financial contributions. Last year Louis’ production company, Pig Newton, filed a lawsuit against the directors of the three union-industry plans, seeking a declaratory judgment that Louis was not required to make these contributions, and even if he was, the contributions should have a “ceiling” so as to only reflect the actual hours Louis spent acting in various roles. In March 2015, a federal judge ruled for the defendants. The case came down to the issue of the “controlling employee” provisions in collective bargaining agreements. The idea behind these provisions is to create safeguards that ensure members that control their work hours do not try to get maximum union benefits while paying minimum union contributions. The District Court judge in the case rejected Pig Newton’s argument that the unions did not have the authority to create the provisions, and plaintiffs did not appeal.
This week, the case has finally come to a close, with the same judge awarding the defendant’s attorney’s fees and costs – around $200,000. In explaining her reasoning, the judge stated that the issues raised by Pig Newton were not only complex and novel, but also of “monumental significance” to health and pension plans, and a ruling in Pig Newton’s favor would have voided similar “controlling employee” provisions for hundreds of employees in the country.
Read more about the story here: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/hollywood-docket-louis-cks-legal-869097
Jennifer Marr is an Entertainment and Sports Highlight Contributor for the Harvard Journal of Sports and Entertainment Law and a current first year student at Harvard Law School (Class of 2018).