Judge could reject Apple’s settlement in anti-poaching suit

Judge Lucy Koh

Judge Lucy Koh is considering Michael Devine’s request.

U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh may reject a plea put forward by Apple, Google, and two other companies following a lawsuit which accused Apple of participating in anti-poaching practices.

As previously reported, Apple, Adobe, Google, Intel, Intuit, Lucasfilm, and Pixar all stood accused by former employees, although Intuit, Lucasfilm, and Pixar quickly agreed to settle — paying a collective $20 million.

The remaining companies — Apple, Google, Intel, and Adobe — faced a possible damages payout of $3 billion, although this could potentially rise to as much as $9 billion under antitrust laws. After an appeal refusal, the companies ended up settling for the comparatively small tiny of $324.5 million.

Understandably, not everyone was pleased with the result: with plaintiff Michael Devine calling the sum “grossly inadequate,” and demanding that it be rejected. Now it seems that he could get his wish.

Judge Koh apparently shares Devine’s concerns, being quoted as saying in court: “I just have concerns about whether this is really fair to the class.” She has yet to announce whether she’ll allow the $324.5 million settlement go through, although she did previously approve the $20 million settlement for Intuit, Lucasfilm, and Pixar.

In a letter sent to Judge Koh back in May, Devine asked 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.”
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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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