(Photo of Paul Yale from Grand Prix Paris in 2008. Taken by David Sutcliffe.)

A California Federal judge has dismissed the class-action suit brought by Paul Yale against Wizards of the Coast in which he alleged that he and other Magic judges were in effect employees of Wizards and should be compensated as such.

Yale has been a judge for over 20 years. Like other Magic judges, he has volunteered to judge many Magic events and has occasionally been compensated in Magic product. In his suit, filed in late 2015, Yale argued that judges are essential to the functioning of Wizards’ business because “the activities necessary to conduct Wizards’ events/tournaments are carried out by judges.” He says that the act of judging is “for the benefit of Wizards is performed under close supervision and control by Wizards” and amounts to an employer-employee relationship, thus entitling him and other judges to the benefits and protections of that relationship.

The judge in the case, Edward Davila, wrote in his decision that the judge program is explicitly voluntary and the non-guaranteed compensation of Magic product doesn’t constitute a wage, both key parts of forming an employee-employer relationship. Judge Davila dismissed this case and gave Yale 30 days to amend his suit with additional facts to prove an that there is an employer-employee relationship between Wizards and its judges.

Wizards of the Coast declined to comment for this article.

This story is still developing…

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