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Former interns at Fendi and Tommy Hilfiger filed class action lawsuits last week in New York, The Fashion Law reports. The fashion houses are accused of systemically misclassifying entry-level employees as interns to avoid paying out minimum wage.
Back in November, Condé Nast settled a lawsuit with former interns for $5.8 million. Meanwhile, Tommy Hilfiger and Fendi join a long list of fashion houses facing similar intern lawsuits. The Fashion Law names Lacoste, Zac Posen, Burberry, Gucci, Calvin Klein, Marc Jacobs, Oscar de la Renta, Coach, and Donna Karan as companies who are involved in unpaid internship lawsuits, all filed by two firms: Virginia & Ambinder LLP and Leeds Brown Law PC.
"The frequency with which cases have been filed by these firms and some interesting procedural history, suggests that these firms may be trolling for potential plaintiffs to help them rake in large settlements from the design houses at issue," Julie Zerbo of The Fashion Law writes.
One intern who was represented by Lloyd Ambinder dropped her lawsuit against "The Late Show with David Letterman" last year, saying she was pressured into suing. In Mallory Musallam's apology letter to Letterman, she wrote that she had been "approached by a beguiling legion of lawsuit-hungry attorneys who saw my Late Show internship on LinkedIn..." and that she was "hastily coerced into a lawsuit masked in equivocal language and ambiguous pretenses." In an interview with Law360, Ambinder denied Musallam's claims that she was coerced into filing a class action lawsuit.