Hundreds of television writers pursuing age-discrimination claims against networks, studios and talent agencies won a major victory Tuesday when a California appeals court paved the way for their suit to proceed with class-action status.
A lawyer for the plaintiffs estimated the ruling could affect more than 6,000 unemployed or underemployed Hollywood writers over the age of 40.
In an 83-page decision, the California Court of Appeal overturned a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge's January 2003 dismissal of the class-action suit. That decision would have forced the plaintiffs to pursue their claims individually.
A group of 51 writers first filed suit in federal court in 2000, alleging that the large networks and studios, along with major talent agencies, systematically discriminated against older writers as they sought to produce programming palatable to young viewers. After that case was dismissed, the writers, joined by more than 100 colleagues, filed 23 class-action suits in state court.