A federal judge has rejected the $324.5 million settlement Apple and others have agreed to pay after facing accusations that the company colluded with Silicon Valley’s top tech firms to avoid poaching each other’s employees.
U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh rejected the proposed settlement from Apple, Google, Intel and Adobe, saying that the total amount “falls below the range of reasonableness.”
“This Court has lived with this case for nearly three years, and during that time, the Court has reviewed a significant number of documents in adjudicating not only the substantive motions, but also the voluminous sealing requests. Having done so, the Court cannot conclude that the instant settlement falls within the range of reasonableness. As this Court stated in its summary judgment order, there is ample evidence of an overarching conspiracy between the seven Defendants…”
The tech companies reached a settlement in April with 64,000 tech workers who claimed their wages were kept artificially low by the non-poaching agreement, but it appears that Judge Koh agrees with one of the plaintiffs who protested the $324.5 million sum.
In a letter written to Judge Koh in May, Michael Devine told the judge that Apple and Google were getting off too lightly, after the plaintiffs originally demanded $3 billion in damages. The non-poaching agreements reach all the way back to 2005 and also included Intuit, Lucasfilm, Pixar, and others who have already settlements with plaintiffs.
A full copy of Judge Koh’s response can be read below: