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L.A. Lawsuit Against Equity Over Changes to 99-Seat Plan Withdrawn as Talks Continue

The June 1 deadline for Equity’s changes to the plan will be pushed back as long as talks continue.

LOS ANGELES: Opting for negotiation over confrontation, Actors’ Equity Association and the plaintiffs in the Asner vs. Actors’ Equity litigation jointly announced today that they have agreed to continue conversations for an undetermined amount of time to attempt to resolve the issues that prompted the pending lawsuit.

The parties expressed a mutual desire to conduct ongoing discussions in a confidential manner, and both sides have agreed to a media blackout during this time. The parties will enlist the assistance of a neutral facilitator.

As part of the agreement, the plaintiffs will not serve the complaint in the lawsuit pending in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California during the discussions, and they have withdrawn with prejudice any claims or causes of action against Mary McColl, Executive Director of Actors’ Equity Association.

The June 1, 2016 starting date for implementation of the Los Angeles 99‐Seat Theatre Agreement will be extended by the amount of time both sides continue fruitful dialogue to resolve the outstanding issues. (For example, if two months pass from the commencement of discussions until their termination, the June 1 start date would be rolled back to August 1, absent some other announcement by the parties.)

This caps a year of contention over the future of the plan, which has been in place for three decades and has allowed L.A. Equity members to volunteer their talent in small theatres for little or no remuneration. In April, Equity took steps to end the plan and insist that theatres of all sizes, with a few contested exceptions, would have to pay its members at least minimum wage.

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