Judge Koh may not approve $324M settlement against Apple, Google, Intel, and Adobe

Back in April, 64,000 employees of tech-giants Apple, Google, Intel, and Adobe agreed to a settlement worth $324M against their employers after alleging that the Silicon Valley companies were keeping their salaries down with "anti-poaching" agreements. In fact, one piece of evidence from Steve Jobs is a communication to Google founder Sergey Brin, saying “If you hire a single one of these people, that means war." The initial amount of the lawsuit asked for $3 billion in damages, but the settlement was agreed upon "in order to avoid the uncertainties, cost and distraction of litigation."

Now it turns out that the plaintiffs may not get the money anytime in the near future. Judge Lucy Koh, famous (infamous?) for presiding over the Apple/Samsung lawsuit, has not yet approved the agreement and indicates that she may force the lawsuit to trial afterall. Her reasoning is that she believes the plaintiffs have a strong case and should be receiving more money. The lawyer for one of the plaintiffs agrees, asking Koh to send everyone back to the negotiating table, while another lawyer said that he's worried the class action suit will be dismissed if the Supreme Court gets involved.

If Judge Koh approves the settlement, each employee will receive roughly $5,000, a far cry from the nearly $50,000 they were asking for. However, if this case goes to trial, it will be many months, if not years, before anyone sees any money, and the amount could be zero.

Source: Reuters, AGI Training | Money gavel image via Shutterstock

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The plaintiffs are not always happy. Its the lawyers who mostly decides what's good and in most cases (its what's good for them and not the clients). Easy cases.

Interesting that a judge can interfere with a settlement agreement between two parties because of their opinion (right or wrong). I thought that's why they called it a settlement. If the plaintiffs aren't happy with what they are going to get then don't settle.

She might think they deserve more but she is gambling with what they had already agreed to get. She still gets her money either way so at least she'll be all right...

Judges are paid chump change in comparison to all of the megacorporate litigators involved.

Given that, 10% of what they were asking for is ridiculously low for a settlement. Their lawyers are likely taking 30% of whatever the settlement is. Ahem.

I'm sure the litigants could come to an agreement on a larger settlement amount that the judge would approve. This is still the most likely scenario.

I think the employees should get the $50,000 they were originally asking for. These companies need to be told that such shady practices are unacceptable.