Not looking good. Former Gawker interns file lackluster response to the company's latest legal motion
Victory is not looking quite as certain as it once did for Gawker's former unpaid interns.
As I reported last week, lawyers for Denton's gossip deathstar -- now 20% nicer, except to users of Ashley Madison who deserve everything they get (TM) -- filed a motion arguing that most former interns are too late to join a class action suit for back pay.
Now the plaintiffs' lawyers have hit back with a long, but ultimately lackluster, legal memorandum which lays out why their clients really, really do have a case. The memorandum, embedded below, relies largely on short quotes from depositions with Gawker employees to make a case that interns were gleefully treated as free, disposable alternatives to "real" Gawker bloggers.
The argument is, bluntly put, unconvincing. Putting aside the question of whether the whole suit is already time-barred, the evidence presented by the plaintiffs paints a picture of a well run, generally respectful intern program. In fact, compared to recent accounts from Gawker's actual salaried employees, the interns seem to have got off pretty easy -- certainly most of them appear to have gone on to bigger and better things in the media.
There's no doubt Gawker, in the grand scheme, is a shitty company -- but absent some big new reveal from the plaintiffs it's hard to see how they win a meaningful settlement in this thing. That said, the interns will have succeeded at least in embarrassing Gawker and in highlighting the hypocrisy of its staff strutting around as freshly-unionized champions of the downtrodden worker while remaining silent (at least publicly) on the fate of their most underpaid, over-exploited former colleagues.
Here's the memorandum...