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Circuit court rejects bloggers appeal for unpaid-wage claim

Defendants in the case of Tasini v. AOL Inc breathed a sigh of relief this month when a court of appeals judge rejected an appeal from a group of bloggers who claimed that they were owed payment for services rendered.

According to the initial class-action lawsuit, several bloggers claimed that they were owed a portion of the $315 million that AOL Inc. paid last year when it bought The Huffington Post. In their complaint, they said that they were tricked into writing free content for The Huffington Post under the expressed assumption that the company would not be sold at a later date to a larger media organization.

The plaintiffs, on behalf of approximately 9,000 bloggers, argued that The Huffington Post profited from the enrichment that they provided to the site which led to the sale of The Huffington Post to AOL Inc. in 2011. The plaintiffs thereby felt that they were owed a portion of the profits and sued for $105 million in unpaid wages.

When the district court judge ruled against the suit in March, the plaintiffs appealed. But it was here that the judge affirmed the decision made by the district court judge, pointing out several problems with the plaintiff's arguments.

According to the judge's assessment, the writers knew that The Huffington Post was a for-profit company which received revenue from their submissions through advertising. The writers also understood that they would receive compensation in the form of exposure and promotion; and although the company may not have lived up to their expectations, the arrangements between the company and the writers did not change. It was a welcomed decision that the defendants were happy to hear considering they had long since felt that the plaintiff's case had little to no merit.

Employment litigation and business disputes such as this can be messy business, but if you truly believe that your accuser's arguments have little to no merit, there is a strong possibility that a court of law will agree with you as well.

Source: Google Scholar, "Tasini v. AOL Inc, 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 12-1428," Court of Appeals, 2nd Circuit, Dec. 12, 2012

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