Famed comedian Louis Szekely, better known as Louis C.K., lost a recent court battle via summary judgment that could result in the funny man having to pay tens of thousands in lapsed union dues.
Lois C.K.’s self titled sitcom Louie is scheduled to premier its forth season April 9 on FX. The much acclaimed comedy show revolves around the pseudo-reality of Louis C.K.’s actual life. The show is set in New York City and follows the happenings of a middle-age divorcee struggling to adapt to the challenges of having kids, growing older, and working as a comedian.
Just as the show itself revolves centrally on Szekely’s character, the production of the show revolves much around Szekely himself as well. Louis is the soul owner of the show’s production company Pig Newton. Furthermore in addition to starring in the show, Louis C.K. also writes, directs, produces and edits for the show.
It is this multi-hat approach to the show’s production that has seen C.K. in recent legal trouble. In an October 17, 2013 article, Variety reported that C.K. filed suit in a U.S. District Court in Manhattan in an effort to obtain a ruling stating that he was not entitled to pay $28,000 in union dues.
According to Variety, C.K. reasoned the amount of money he owed to the various unions was unfairly calculated using a formula based off of his aforementioned sole-ownership of the show’s production company. C.K. argued in his suit, that the total amount of dues owed should have been calculated based on actual hours as an employee he spent working on the show not as an employee-owner.
The unions involved in the suit countered C.K.’s arguments, according to CNN Money, by stating in effect.
“…employees could report they had worked the minimum hours necessary to qualify for a pension, and get the maximum benefit for the minimum required contribution.”
It has now been almost a year and a half since C.K. first filed his initial suit. Finally, on March 6 U.S. District Judge Katherine Failla released her 36 page ruling/opinion after offering a summary judgement on the matter. In short, Judge Failla’s ruling holds that Louis C.K. was incorrect in his perceived assessments of actual dues owed. Judge Failla did concede that the rules were overly broad in-favor of unions but that she was not bound by precedent to apply the level of scrutiny needed to overturn the application of such rules.
Now, with the summary judgement against him, Louis C.K. will be finding out in the very near future exactly how many thousands of dollars he will owe to his unions.