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More Cash for Tech Workers in Silicon Valley Antitrust Lawsuit

2 minute read
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Apparently, $324.5 million wasn't enough.

Former tech workers at major Silicon Valley companies could cash in on an antitrust lawsuit settlement for even more money than an earlier deal that was already was the largest of its kind.

The 64,000 or so former employers of Adobe Systems, Intel Corporation, Apple and Google, Inc. have reached another settlement with the tech giants, according to a Jan. 13 letter from a Google attorney to the San Francisco-based US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Workers claim in the lawsuit the tech companies illegally agreed not to call each other's employees.

Lead-up to Second Settlement

Pixar and Lucasfilm and Intuit were also named in the original 2010 class-action lawsuit, but those organizations settled in 2013 for a combined $20 million. Those three companies accounted for only about 8 percent of the class-action members, according to court documents.

According to Donald M. Falk, the Google attorney who wrote this week's letter, a new settlement with Adobe, Intel, Apple and Google is subject to district court approval. Falk did not respond to an email request for commentary this morning.

Learning Opportunities

The plaintiffs did not reject the original settlement, according to court documents. The US District Court for the Northern District of California denied the initial $324.5 million settlement last year because it was not "within the range of reasonableness." Officials at the court told the tech companies it would have to be increased to at least $380 million.

Why the Lawsuit?

In court documents, the plaintiffs said their former employers entered into an illegal conspiracy not to “cold-call” each other’s technical employees. They sought treble damages under federal and state antitrust laws of $3.05 billion. According to the first settlement, they would pocket about $3,750 each.

The companies did not agree to refrain from hiring one another’s employees, according to the plaintiffs. But the "conspiracy" was composed of six two-party “do-not-cold-call” agreements.

A Google official declined comment when reached by CMSWire. Officials at Adobe, Intel and Apple did not immediately return emails this morning. One of the plaintiffs did not return a LinkedIn message from CMSWire this morning.