Apple, Google, and Others Offer Increased $415M Settlement in Class Action Anti-Poaching Lawsuit

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After a judge had rejected an earlier settlement deal, Apple, Google, Intel and Adobe today offered a higher settlement that may end an anti-poaching lawsuit filed on behalf of technology workers, reports Reuters. Citing a source close to the negotiations, The New York Times claims the companies are offering a combined payment of $415 million to settle the case.

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The suit asserts that the companies had illegal agreements that they would not directly solicit one another’s employees. That limited the engineers’ mobility and their pay, to the benefit of the companies, the suit said. The case grew out of reported actions by the companies that centered on a period that began in 2005, when Google was ascendant and Apple was trying to defend its turf.

Judge Lucy Koh rejected an earlier settlement of $324 million when plaintiff Michael Devine objected to the proposed amount. In her rejection, Koh agreed with Devine, stating that the total compensation "falls below the range of reasonableness," when compared to the settlement that Pixar, Lucasfilm, and Intuit previously reached with the employees in 2013.

Lawyers confirm this new settlement amount is acceptable to the plaintiffs, but Judge Lucy Koh will still need to approve the deal. A settlement would allow the companies to avoid a potentially embarrassing trial that would expose internal communications between top technology companies such as Apple, Google, Intel, Adobe, Intuit and others.

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