A settlement has been reached in the class action lawsuit between volunteers for Emerald City Comicon and Eitane Emerald Corp. and members of the Demonakos family, according to documents provided by the plaintiffs’ law firm. The settlement provides for a payment of $493,227.84 to the volunteers and the attorneys representing the class.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the class by former volunteer Jerry Michael Brooks in May of 2016 (see “Conventions the Next Class Action Lawsuit Target”), alleging that volunteers were not paid for their time and asking for double the back wages, interest, costs, and fees. The class was estimated as at least 250 people who had volunteered in 2014 and 2015.
Attorneys will receive $123,300 and the lead plaintiff will receive $5,000 as an incentive award; after a few other costs are covered, the remainder of the $493, 227.84 will be divided among the volunteers that respond to the notice, based on their hours as a percentage of the total to be compensated. The payments to volunteers will be considered half wages for hours worked, and half settlements for not previously paying wages.
Past volunteers will be contacted using the last email addresses available and through the social media accounts used to recruit volunteers.
The defendants, Eitane Emerald and the Demonakos family members, do not admit liability and “deny any wrongdoing or legal liability arising out of any of the facts of conduct alleged in this case.” There was no ruling by the court on the claims; the settlement eliminates the need for a trial.
ReedPOP acquired Emerald City Comicon in 2015 and took over operations in 2016 (see “ReedPOP Acquires Emerald City”); it was not involved in this litigation.