| SAN JOSE, Calif., March 27
SAN JOSE, Calif., March 27 Apple Inc,
Google Inc and two other Silicon Valley companies are
making progress toward settling a closely watched lawsuit where
tech workers allege the companies conspired to avoid competing
for each other's employees in order to drive down wages.
At a hearing on Thursday in federal court in San Jose,
California, Google attorney Robert Van Nest said the companies
and the plaintiffs have been consulting daily with a mediator to
try to resolve the dispute, and that they are making progress.
Kelly Dermody, an attorney for the plaintiffs, agreed with
the assessment. Roughly 60,000 tech workers won permission to
sue as a class action. Trial is currently scheduled to begin in
The case began in 2011 when five software engineers sued
Apple, Google, Adobe Systems Inc, Intel Corp
and others over an alleged conspiracy to suppress pay by
agreeing not to recruit or hire each other's employees.
These defendants were accused of violating the Sherman Act
and Clayton Act antitrust laws by conspiring to eliminate
competition for labor, depriving workers of job mobility and
hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation.
The case has been closely watched by Silicon Valley, with
much of it built on emails among top executives, including the
late Apple Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs and former Google
Chief Executive Officer Eric Schmidt.
Walt Disney Co's Pixar and Lucasfilm units and
Intuit Inc have already agreed to a settlement, with
Disney paying about $9 million and Intuit paying $11 million.
The case in U.S. District Court, Northern District of
California is In re: High-Tech Employee Antitrust Litigation,
U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, No.
(Reporting by Dan Levine; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)