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COURT WAVES THROUGH DISCRIMINATION CASE It couldn’t have been scripted any better — at least for the writers. On Wednesday, the California Supreme Court refused to review an age discrimination case filed by hundreds of TV writers against a slew of networks, studios, production companies and talent agencies. The decision lets stand a September ruling by Los Angeles’ Second District Court of Appeal that gave writers the right to proceed with 23 class actions. None of the justices voted to hear the case. Chief Justice Ronald George and Justice Janice Rogers Brown recused themselves. Justice Kathryn Mickle Werdegar was absent and did not vote. The suit, filed by members of the Writers Guild of America, claims that networks and studios have a longtime policy of refusing to hire older writers. Talent agencies allegedly participate by referring only writers younger than 40. The writers contend there is a “youth-oriented corporate culture that indiscriminately favors youth over age and experience” to generate higher advertising revenues by attracting younger audiences. Among the companies named in the suit are Fox Broadcasting Co., Time Warner Entertainment and Walt Disney Pictures and Television. The companies have hired several prominent law firms, including Los Angeles’ Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and O’Melveny & Myers. The writers’ guild is represented by Minneapolis’ Sprenger & Lang. The case is Alch v. Superior Court (Time Warner Entertainment), S128628. — Mike McKee LATHAM’S DELL TAKES HELM AT LEGAL AID The San Francisco Legal Aid Society — Employment Law Center announced Monday that Robert Dell, the chairman and managing partner of Latham & Watkins, has been elected chairman. He takes over Jan. 1 for outgoing Chairman Richard Odgers — a Pillsbury Winthrop partner — who is stepping down after four years. Dell, who has been Latham’s chairman since 1994, specializes in complex business litigation. At Legal Aid, he will preside over a 65-member board that includes a wide range of lawyers from solo plaintiff-side practitioners to corporate specialists at the city’s biggest firms. The board oversees a variety of services for the working poor, including workers’ rights clinics, unemployment and wage claims services, and projects that aim to curb discrimination based on race, gender, nationality, language and disabilities. In a statement released Monday, the center’s president, Joan Graff, cited Dell’s empathy for clients’ plight and understanding of organizational issues as valuable qualities in a chairman. — Justin Scheck

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