Koh told lawyers yesterday that Apple founder Steve Jobs was copied on e-mails at issue in the case, and that she found it “hard to believe” that Cook, as Apple’s chief operating officer at the time in question, wouldn’t have been consulted about such agreements.
The judge said she was disappointed that senior executives at the companies involved hadn’t been deposed before yesterday’s hearing over whether she should certify the case as a group lawsuit.
The case goes back to 2005 and alleges that Apple, Adobe, Pixar, Lucasfilm, Google, Intel and Intuit had agreements not to poach employees from the companies that were privy to the agreements. Employees were free to apply at jobs at any of the companies on their own volition, however.
The agreements were investigated in 2010 by the Justice Department and the claims were eventually settled, with the companies agreeing not to enter employee-poaching bans for five years.
The current lawsuit is a class-action civil suit by employees who say they were harmed by the anti-competitive actions of the companies within the agreement.