Plaintiff protests $324 million settlement in Apple anti-poaching case

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Apple might be among the companies which settled the Silicon Valley anti-poaching dispute out of court last month, but one plaintiff isn’t happy — calling the $324 million settlement “grossly inadequate.”

The trial was supposed to begin at the end of May, which would have potentially led to months of revelations about Apple’s anti-poaching practices. Ultimately the four tech companies involved, including Apple and Google, settled for $324 million: a figure substantially lower than the $3 billion in damages requested by the suit, or the $9 billion which could have been awarded if the defendants were found to be guilty in court.

However, 46-year-old freelance programmer Michael Devine — one the 64,000 tech workers involved in the class action lawsuit — says the companies are getting off too lightly, and has sent a letter to Judge Lucy H. Koh of United States District Court for the Northern District of California, asking her to reject the deal that Devine’s own lawyers negotiated.

In his letter, Devine asks whether a similar situation would have occurred if this were a shoplifter being caught stealing a $400 iPad, then being asked to pay Apple $40, and allowed to keep the iPad and walk away with no record or admission of wrongdoing.

“Of course not, nor is such a resolution appropriate in our case. Perhaps, though, the prevalence of corporate crime is in part due to the absence of real justice for the victims in the courtroom? Why, with such uniquely compelling evidence in hand, would we short circuit this case? Please, Your Honor, allow us our day in court.”

While Judge Koh has yet to respond, her decision will determine whether the issue is worthy of a court trial. Apple is obviously hoping she decides “no.”

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About the author

Luke DormehlLuke Dormehl is a UK-based journalist and author, with a background working in documentary film for Channel 4 and the BBC. He is the author of The Formula: How Algorithms Solve All Our Problems, And Create More and The Apple Revolution, both published by Penguin/Random House. His tech writing has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, Techmeme, and other publications. He'd like you a lot if you followed him on Twitter.

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