Feeds

Judge could bin $325m wage-fixing settlement in Silicon Valley

Lucy Koh says she's 'concerned' about whether the deal is fair to tech workers

Intelligent flash storage arrays

A US judge is reportedly worried about the settlement for tech workers in the no-hire pact lawsuit in Silicon Valley.

Judge Lucy Koh has to approve the $324m payout from Apple, Google, Intel and Adobe, after employees sued the four firms along with Pixar, Lucasfilm and Intuit over an alleged conspiracy to keep wages down by refusing to poach each other’s staff.

Koh has already approved separate settlements from Disney’s movie units and Intuit for around $20m in total, but she said she wasn’t sure that the four tech giants offer was good enough.

“I just have concerns about whether this is really fair to the class," Koh said in court on Thursday.

The suing workers were hoping to ask for around $3bn in damages if the case had gone to trial and because the issue comes under antitrust law, that could have ended up tripled to $9bn.

One of the four named plaintiffs, Michael Devine, filed an objection to the settlement after it was proposed, saying it was “grossly inadequate”. He claimed that he wasn’t properly consulted about the deal, and he asked the court to reject it as “unfair and unjust”.

“The tentative settlement, if it stands, amounts to big profits for plaintiffs’ counsel, insulation from real liability for the defendants and locks in a significant net loss for the class,” he said.

However, the plaintiffs’ attorney Kelly Dermody said yesterday that the case faced serious risks if it went all the way through the trial and on to appeal, because the US Supreme Court hasn’t been kind to class-action suits lately.

"Those are very, very real risks for plaintiffs," she said, adding that the settlement was already the largest antitrust employee deal ever reached "by far”.

But Koh said she wasn’t so sure that the Supreme Court would get involved in this particular case.

“If there was going to be good case for further restricting class actions, I'm not sure this is the one," she said.

However, she also said that the settlement would at least give all workers the chance to get money, even if they didn’t file a paper claim. Each tech employee stands to get a few thousand dollars on average in the proposed deal.

Google’s legal eagle Robert Van Nest also argued that Apple and the other tech firms face paying out way more than Disney and Intuit did, and said that Devine’s objections were “baloney”.

Koh has yet to decide if she’ll accept the settlement. ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Scrapping the Human Rights Act: What about privacy and freedom of expression?
Justice minister's attack to destroy ability to challenge state
WHY did Sunday Mirror stoop to slurping selfies for smut sting?
Tabloid splashes, MP resigns - but there's a BIG copyright issue here
Google hits back at 'Dear Rupert' over search dominance claims
Choc Factory sniffs: 'We're not pirate-lovers - also, you publish The Sun'
EU to accuse Ireland of giving Apple an overly peachy tax deal – report
Probe expected to say single-digit rate was unlawful
Inequality increasing? BOLLOCKS! You heard me: 'Screw the 1%'
There's morality and then there's economics ...
While you queued for an iPhone 6, Apple's Cook sold shares worth $35m
Right before the stock took a 3.8% dive amid bent and broken mobe drama
4chan outraged by Emma Watson nudie photo leak SCAM
In the immortal words of Shaggy, it wasn't me us ... amirite?
prev story

Whitepapers

A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.