CNBC has reported that a settlement deal involving Apple, Google, Intel and Adobe has been rejected by Judge Lucy Koh. The deal was with tech employees regarding a lawsuit revolving around anti-poaching agreements.
The judge believed that the total settlement sum “falls below the range of reasonableness”. This was in contrast to the earlier $20 million settlement by Pixar , Lucasfilm, and Intuit reached with tech workers last year. According to court documents, the foursome should be looking to be settling at at least $380 million with employees.
“The Court finds the total settlement amount falls below the range of reasonableness. The Court is concerned that Class members recover less on a proportional basis from the instant settlement with the Remaining Defendants than from the Settled Defendants a year ago, despite the fact that the case has progressed consistently in the Class’s favor since then. Counsel’s sole explanation for this reduced figure is that there are weaknesses in Plaintiff’s case such that the Class faces a substantial risk of non-recovery. However, that risk existed and was even greater when Plaintiffs settled with the Settled Defendants a year ago, when class certification had been denied. […]
Using the Settled Defendants’ settlements as a yardstick, the appropriate benchmark settlement for the Remaining Defendants would be at least $380 million, more than $50 million greater than what the instant settlement provides.”
For full court documents, click here.
This all started way back in 2011 when employees initially levied the class action anti-poaching lawsuit against the companies. The workers accused their employers of creating no-hire agreements and conspiring not to poach employees from one another in an effort to keep salaries lower.
In 2005, no-solicitation agreements were revealed during a lawsuit. The agreements involved Apple, Google, Intel, Adobe, Intuit, Lucasfilm, and Pixar and aimed to prevent company recruiters from contacting employees placed on specific no-contact lists.
The United States Department of Justice got involved in 2010 and ordered the companies to stop entering anti-poaching agreements. However, this was not the end of the story as the class-action civil lawsuit brought against the companies by 64,000 employees will remain open until a suitable settlement can be reached. The suit originally asked for $3 billion in damages instead of the $324 million agreed upon in April.