updated 04:23 pm EDT, Fri August 8, 2014
Deal 'falls below the range of reasonableness'
US District Judge Lucy Koh has rejected a proposed $324.5 million settlement in the lawsuit direct against Apple, Adobe, Google, and Intel over anti-poaching practices. In her ruling, Koh states that the amount offered "falls below the range of reasonableness."
The lawsuit accuses the corporations of conspiring in the 2000s to avoid hiring from each other's workforces. Although this prevented projects from being disrupted, it also protected the companies from having to compete with each other in terms of wages and benefits.
Judge Koh ruled that "ample evidence of an overarching conspiracy" and was concerned that the fund didn't pay enough money to employees that hadn't reached a separate settlement with the quartet of tech companies. The Judge did give guidance on what she thought was an acceptable fund amount, declaring that $380 million should be sufficient, $55.5 million more than the proposal.
A settlement was likely forced by a series of 2005 emails between Apple's Steve Jobs and Google's Sergey Brin, proving that they agreed not to hire from each other's businesses. A Google policy document hinted at a still-wider conspiracy involving firms not even targeted in the lawsuit, such as Comcast, Microsoft, and Oracle.