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Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen settle intern lawsuit

By Kristopher Fraser

Mar 9, 2017

The duo behind The Row, Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, will pay out 140,000 dollars to interns who worked up to 50 hours per week for free for their luxury brand. The former actresses will be paying up to 185 interns, with the payout averaging about 530 dollars per intern and the rest going towards legal fees.

According to a Manhattan Supreme Court filing, they have agreed to the payout because they want to "avoid uncertainties of litigation." The payout still needs to be agreed upon by a judge.

The twins’ company, Dualstar, denied any claims of mistreatment when the story initially broke in August 2015, stating: “The allegations in the complaint filed against Dualstar are groundless, and Dualstar will vigorously defend itself against plaintiff's claims in court, not before the media. Dualstar is confident that once the true facts of this case are revealed, the lawsuit will be dismissed in its entirety."

The brand is known for their incredibly high price points, even when compared to other luxury brands, with coats averaging between 5000 and 6000 dollars. One of their fastest selling items ever was a 39,000 dollar crocodile skin backpack.

Olsen twins settle lawsuit over interns

According to the lawsuit, the interns were putting in 50 hour work weeks without receiving any academic or vocational credit, while doing the same work as some of their paid colleagues. The lawsuit was initially brought by Shahista Lalani.

Claims made against the brand include rarely giving interns breaks and receiving e-mails from bosses up to as late as 10 o'clock at night.

According to court documents, the settlement was agreed upon "protracted, arm's-length negotiations between the parties and their experienced counsel."

The court documents also state the plaintiffs attorney LaDonna Lusher said: 'The parties have reached a proposed settlement which plaintiffs believe represents a significant recovery given the potential damages and substantial risks if the case proceeds to trial.'

Photo: David Shankbone via commons.wikimedia.org