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Apple and Google want to settle no-poaching lawsuit for $415 million

Mariella Moon, @mariella_moon
January 16, 2015
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Google, Apple, Adobe and Intel do not want to go to trial in April -- they've made that clear by agreeing to a $415 million settlement for the no-poaching class action lawsuit filed by over 60,000 employees years ago. The companies originally offered $324.5 million in 2014, but Judge Lucy Koh turned it down, as she believed the plaintiffs deserve a lot more than that. That's still far from the $3 billion the plaintiffs originally wanted, but it's still $90 million more to divvy up amongst themselves. What's this no-poaching lawsuit about anyway? Well, between 2005 and 2009, these four Silicon Valley corporations along with Lucasfilm, Intuit and Pixar had an agreement not to steal each other's employees.

You might recall that Steve Jobs even emailed then-Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt back in 2007 to ask Mountain View's HR department to stop trying to recruit one of Apple's engineers, as per their deal. The employees that filed the class action lawsuit accuse the companies of enforcing a no-poaching agreement in order to keep salaries low. Lucasfilm, Pixar and Intuit already settled for $20 million and the agreement's no longer in place, but since the remaining four companies are much larger, negotiations are taking time.

Despite the significantly more generous offer, the companies continue to deny any wrongdoing. As Intel spokesperson Chuck Mulloy told CNET:

We deny the allegations contained in the suit and we deny that we violated any laws or that we have any obligation to the plaintiff. We elected to settle the matter in order to avoid the risk, burdens and uncertainty of ongoing litigation.

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