Legal claims are highly procedural and time-sensitive. To be successful, claims must be correctly processed and contain sufficient evidence to move the claim forward. The federal government and the states also have various statutes of limitations for different kinds of claims, and if you are party to a legal dispute, then your lawyer should be abreast of the relevant procedural requirements and statutes of limitations when advising you on your case.
All of these issues have come up in the recent dismissal of an antitrust lawsuit against Walt Disney Co., DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc., and a number of other media companies. The federal suit was heard by a judge in San Francisco who decided that the plaintiffs' claims were inadequate and that the statute of limitations had expired.
According to the plaintiffs, Disney and DreamWorks conspired not to hire each other's employees -- specifically, visual effects artists and animators -- in order to minimize labor costs.
However, U.S. District Judge Lucy H. Koh said, "It may be the case that Defendants engaged in a secret conspiracy, but the allegation alone does not show that Defendants affirmatively and fraudulently concealed the existence of Plaintiffs' claims."
The plaintiffs sought to have their claim designated as a class action, and if successful, the lawsuit could lead to millions of dollars in back pay for class members.
Though the lawsuit has been dismissed, the judge did give the plaintiffs 30 days to amend and refile. If that doesn't happen, then the lawsuit will be dismissed without prejudice, and the claim cannot be filed again.
To learn more about class action lawsuits and employment law, please see our antitrust and unfair competition overview.