Lawyers talk of settlement in Silicon Valley employee-poaching case

In a hearing, both sides cited progress made with a mediator

Attorneys say they're making progress toward a possible settlement in Silicon Valley's employee poaching case, in which Google, Apple and other companies are accused of conspiring not to hire employees from other tech giants.

During a hearing on Thursday in a San Jose court, attorneys on both sides said they were working daily with a mediator to resolve the dispute, which involves alleged secret agreements among the firms not to poach each other's workers. Those agreements would violate federal antitrust laws.

"From our perspective, we don't need any rulings," said Robert Van Nest, an attorney for Google, during a case management discussion with Judge Lucy Koh of the U.S. District Court for Northern California. Discussions were ongoing with a mediator to possibly settle the claims, he said.

An attorney for the workers agreed. "I think if there's any possibility of settling this case, we have the right mediator for it," said Kelly Dermody.

The case dates back to 2011, when Silicon Valley software engineers alleged that Adobe Systems, Apple, Google, Intuit, Intel, Lucasfilm and Pixar engaged in an "overarching conspiracy" to fix and suppress employee compensation and to restrict employees' mobility. The class covered by the suit is estimated at 60,000 workers.

Intuit, Lucasfilm and Pixar have already settled with the plaintiffs.

A trial date has been set in May. During Thursday's hearing, the parties worked out a variety of logistical issues for a trial, partly in an attempt to streamline the evidence that could be used.

Some of the evidence consists of emails sent between Steve Jobs, then CEO of Apple, and former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, in which they allegedly agreed not to hire employees working at each others' companies. Those agreements, plaintiffs allege, drove down their compensation and prevented them from moving to higher-paying positions in a competitive job market.

Much of the case focuses on "do-not-call lists," which plaintiffs say the companies used to instruct their recruiters not to call other firms about possible job openings.

The alleged agreement between the companies not to solicit each other's employees violates the Sherman Antitrust Act and the Clayton Antitrust Act, the plaintiffs argue.

The defendants had tried to appeal a ruling by Judge Koh that allowed the case to be treated as a class action, but the appeals court rejected that petition.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags social mediainternetGoogleApplelegalintelsearch enginessocial networkingantitrustAdobe SystemsInternet-based applications and servicesCivil lawsuits

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Zach Miners

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?