The Real Deal New York

Xceligent employee files class-action lawsuit against DMGT

Field researcher claims data firm violated WARN Act
By Konrad Putzier | December 22, 2017 01:44PM

Paul Zwillenberg (Credit: DGMT)

UPDATED, 7:10 p.m., Dec. 22: A former Xceligent employee filed a class-action lawsuit against the data company and its British parent, the Daily Mail and General Trust, over its abrupt closure and mass layoffs last week.

Last Thursday, workers were informed Xceligent is filing for Chapter 7 liquidation and that they were “separated from employment effective immediately.” The company gave its employees 30 minutes to collect belongings and leave the building.

The lawsuit, filed by Missouri-based former Xceligent field researcher Jean Morris on behalf of around 500 employees in Delaware federal bankruptcy court, alleges that DMGT violated the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act by not giving them at least 60 days notice that they would lose their jobs. The suit seeks up to 60 days’ pay and retirement and health benefits.

“DMGT did not shut down Xceligent,” a spokesperson for DMGT said Friday. “The Xceligent board decided to file for Chapter 7. The allegation relating to WARN is therefore against Xceligent.”

DMGT, which owns the tabloid Daily Mail, had bemoaned Xceligent’s “disappointing” expansion into New York City and had written the carrying value of Xceligent down to zero in November. Xceligent folded amid a costly legal battle with CoStar Group, which claims the rival data company stole its images.

CoStar intends to continue the litigation, and its legal filings indicate that it will now turn its attention to DMGT. “While the bankruptcy has stayed the case against Xceligent, CoStar will continue legal efforts to hold accountable those involved in the theft of its intellectual property,” a CoStar spokesperson said last week.

This story was updated to include a comment from DMGT.