Court Approves $5.9 Million Settlement in Conde Nast Internship Case
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Condé Nast on Monday won a federal judge's preliminary approval to pay $5.85 million to settle a class-action lawsuit by thousands of former interns who claimed the magazine publisher underpaid them.
The settlement, made public on Nov. 13, applies to roughly 7,500 interns who had worked at magazines including Vanity Fair, Vogue and the New Yorker.
Former interns who worked at Condé Nast from June 2007 to the present are expected to receive payments from $700 to $1,900.
In granting preliminary approval, U.S. Magistrate Judge Henry Pitman in Manhattan said the payout appeared reasonable, citing an estimate by the interns' lawyers that it exceeded 60 percent of estimated unpaid wages.
"Given defendant's size and stature in the publishing world, I assume it could withstand greater judgment," Pitman wrote. "This fact, by itself, however, does not render the proposed settlement unfair."
The law firm Outten & Golden, which represents the interns, plans to seek legal fees of $650,000, or 11.1 percent of the settlement fund.
Pitman scheduled a June 22, 2015, fairness hearing to consider final approval of the settlement.
The lawsuit is one of many accusing media and entertainment companies of paying interns little or nothing for their work.
Comcast Corp's NBCUniversal reached a $6.4 million settlement of a similar lawsuit in October.
Condé Nast canceled its internship program soon after it was sued in June 2013.
The case is Ballinger et al v. Advance Magazine Publishers Inc d/b/a Condé Nast Publications, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 13-04036.
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; editing by Gunna Dickson)