Reuters reports today that Apple, Google, Adobe, and Intel have settled in the long running antitrust lawsuit filed by 64,000 employees alleging the companies entered into agreements to not hire employees from one another. Apple previously settled out of court in a lawsuit brought on by the Department of Justice for the same practices, but the class-action suit from employees settled today was given the go ahead last year.
Four major tech companies including Apple and Google have agreed to settle a large antitrust lawsuit over no-hire agreements in Silicon Valley, according to a court filing on Thursday.
The lawsuits have exposed many emails between Steve Jobs, Google executives and others showing the companies regularly discussed agreements in place to prevent hires from the other companies.
“This is an excellent resolution of the case that will benefit class members. We look forward to presenting it to the Court and making the terms available,” stated Dermody, Co-Lead Counsel for the Plaintiff Class.
The case was slated to go to trial on May 22nd after Judge Lucy Koh ruled in October that the concerns of the conspiracy were overarching enough to be reasonably tried as a class-action lawsuit. The tech workers claim that from 2005 to 2009 Apple, Google, Adobe and Intel conspired to not poach each others’ employees in order to avert salary bidding wars. Reuters also reported that the total paid between all the companies is $324 million (nowhere near the $3 bIllion the plaintiffs were hoping for), a significant sum of money putting Apple’s share in the neighbourhood of $100M since it’s the biggest company involved. Divided between the 64,000 plaintiffs however, the total stretches to just over $5000 per person.
Walt Disney Co’s Pixar & Lucasfilm units and Intuit Inc had already agreed to a settlement, with Disney paying about $9 million and Intuit paying $11 million.
Any settlement must be approved by U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California. A hearing on final approval of the Intuit and Disney deals is scheduled for next week.
The plaintiffs’ law firm said in a statement that “Class counsel will file with the Court a motion seeking preliminary approval of the settlements, approval of a plan to provide notice to the class, and set a date for a hearing on final settlement approval.”