May 12 One of the plaintiffs in a lawsuit that
accuses tech firms including Apple Inc and Google Inc
of conspiring to hold down salaries has asked the court
to reject a $324 million settlement negotiated by his own
Michael Devine, one of the four named plaintiffs in a class
action of 64,000 people, described the tentative settlement as
"grossly inadequate" in a letter to the judge in the case.
The proposed settlement is about one-tenth of experts'
estimates of potential damages and is lacking in any penalty, he
"The class wants a chance at real justice," Devine wrote in
the letter to judge Lucy Koh on Sunday. "We want our day in
Tech workers filed the lawsuit against Apple, Google, Intel
Inc and Adobe Systems Inc in 2011, alleging
they conspired to refrain from soliciting one another's
employees in order to avert a salary war.
The workers planned to ask for $3 billion in damages at a
trial scheduled to begin at the end of May, according to court
filings. That could have tripled to $9 billion under antitrust
"As an analogy," Devine wrote, "if a shoplifter is caught on
video stealing a $400 iPad from the Apple Store, would a fair
and just resolution be for the shoplifter to pay Apple $40, keep
the iPad, and walk away with no record or admission of
wrongdoing? Of course not."
The case has been closely watched due to the potentially
high damages award and the opportunity to peek into the world of
Silicon Valley's elite. The case was based largely on emails in
which Apple's late co-founder Steve Jobs, former Google CEO Eric
Schmidt and some of their Silicon Valley rivals allegedly
hatched plans to avoid poaching each other's prized engineers.
The case in U.S. District Court, Northern District of
California is In Re: High-Tech Employee Antitrust Litigation,
(Reporting by Supriya Kurane in Bangalore; Editing by Mark