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Judge approves $415M settlement in 'no-poach' class-action case involving Apple, Google, others

Apple, Google and other parties accused of being involved in an illegal "no-poach" employee policy may be on the verge of settling the class-action complaint, after the judge overseeing the lawsuit has given initial approval for their proposed $415 million settlement.

Jobs and Schmidt


Defendants in the case agreed to a smaller $324.5 million settlement last April, but Judge Lucy Koh rejected the offer after hearing objectives from one plaintiff, Michael Devine, who said Apple and others should "pay their fair share." Apple and the other parties later upped their settlement offer to $415 million in January of this year.

That increase appears to be enough for Koh, who said this week that she was satisfied with the $415 million offer, according to the Associated Press. If all goes as expected, final approval will be given at a hearing on June 9.

The other parties accused in the complaint are Intel and Adobe. Employees working for the four Silicon Valley firms sued their employers over alleged anti-poaching mandates enacted by executives, including late Apple cofounder Steve Jobs.

Earlier in the suit, other codefendants included Intuit, Pixar, and Lucasfilm. They settled out of court for $20 million, and the terms of that settlement helped, in part, to justify Koh's rejection of the initial $324.5 million proposal from the remaining companies.

In the complaint, the employees said the companies in question effectively put a cap on their salaries through various no-poach tactics, including "do not call" lists, emails, and intra-office communications.

Apple and the other companies were also the subject of a U.S. Department of Justice investigation and lawsuit over the same supposed anti-competitive agreements. That also ended in a settlement in 2010.