back to article US judge: no class action against tech giants' 'wage-control pact'

A US judge is refusing to allow tech employees to band together and sue Apple, Google, and other tech firms in a class-action suit over those companies' alleged "no-hire pact" to keep wages down. District Judge Lucy Koh said that the pact affected workers in too many different ways to allow them to be lumped together, and denied …

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Anonymous Coward

Collusion!

Against the law for you, legal for the corporations.

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Maybe Collusion!

In the USA, an individual is certainly allowed to simultaneously present his record for employment at multiple places. IF you sign a 'no compete clause', then you surrender that right (for a price).

The USA antitrust laws would seemingly cause commercial companies to not-enter into such collusion without appropriate 'no compete clause' agreements.

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Unhappy

Re: Maybe Collusion!

US anti-trust laws are unenforced and have been for decades.

Their only use these days is to make sure mergers and buyouts pay off the right people.

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Re: Maybe Collusion!

antitrust division is busy all the time. You have some favorites that haven't been pursued, perhaps?

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What kind of documentation exists of the Damages?

In the USA, this kind of tort can take several forms. The accusers choose the tort-style that best fits their proof. The number of people damaged and the aggregate size of the provable damage is critical to success.

Class action is very powerful (although Bush ameliorated it in 2005), but the level of proof is high for maximal result.

Other kinds of individual actions can be started at a lower level. If they are effective, then the corporations BEG for a class action to limit their total damage.

The USA has PLENTY of attorneys that can gauge the optimal level to get these off-the-ground. If no one does take it, then the proof is likely not strong enough.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What kind of documentation exists of the Damages?

"although Bush ameliorated it in 2005"

?

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Re: What kind of documentation exists of the Damages?

"Other kinds of individual actions can be started at a lower level. If they are effective, then the corporations BEG for a class action to limit their total damage."

The idea of "death through 1000 paper cuts" is still a good one for particular classes of offenders - such as junkfaxers, etc.

Whatever did happen to fax.com ?

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FAIL

Re: What kind of documentation exists of the Damages?

Because people who are having their wages restricted can afford these kinds of long term actions... right?

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Re: What kind of documentation exists of the Damages?

Lawyers in this area often do the work on contigency, if the proof is there.

No or little cost to the person...

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The only money anyone will see...

is that lining the lawyers pockets. None will go to "injured" plaintiffs, mark these words.

Just live with it. I did.

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Re: The only money anyone will see...

After more than 20 years, the victims of the Exxon Valdez, those were still alive that is, received only ~30k each.

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If its too varied to be just one class, then its too varied. Only the judge can make that determination. The Solution is to get each different group of "injured" employees together and make classes out of all of them if they number greater than about 15.

It may have been that alone there was no group large enough to grant class status to and therefore a class action would have been picked apart by the opposing attorneys.

Its also never a good sign when the supposed class will not comply with legal procedure during the discovery process, going so far as to telling a court that they wont comply. Seeking the court's assistance on their terms is a surefire way to piss off a judge if you're not playing by the rules the judge lays down in the initial hearings, and from a cursory reading of the article it seems like Koh wasn't prepared to play ball like that. If I was her, I would have probably gone even further and leveled contempt charges.

Plus, given that she's used to dealing with the legally grey to black dealings of the likes of Samsung, Apple, Oracle, AT&T, Advance-Newhouse, and Cisco I can't say I'm very surprised that if something doesn't seem right to her, or seems likely to create a major appellate problem later that she'll toss it out of her court room.

Its also rather surprising that the plaintiffs didn't shop for a different jurisdiction. I personally would have picked Middle Florida if Oracle was involved at all, or in Eastern Illinois if IBM was involved.

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Judges

How are they selected? Is Judge Koh the only judge able/willing to deal with tech?

I'm just curious, seems she crops up everywhere there's a fruit themed piece of US litigation.

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It's only an illegal cartel if they are fixing prices for customers.

When it comes to fixing wages to defraud the worker, apparently it's all legal and above board.

1 law for them and 1 law for us it would seem.

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Surly this is just yet another example of anti-capitalist/anti-free market behaviour from big business?

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@James 51

"Surely this is just yet another example of anti-capitalist/anti-free market behaviour from big business?"

No, it's another example of Silicon Valley applying the libertarian principles they so fervently espouse.

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Headmaster

"facially anticompetitive"

"facially anticompetive"? Where "facially" is "with respect to the face"? Or did they actually mean to say "superficially"?

Or perhaps "farcically"?

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Re: "facially anticompetitive"

Means "obvious or apparent without profound analysis".

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Re: "facially anticompetitive"

Means "obvious or apparent without profound analysis".

I assumed that was what they meant . Essentially an English version of prima facie - without an explicit translation of "prima", but in context that can be assumed. It's a metaphorical signifier of surface versus depth.

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Anonymous Coward

shows what I know

I thought law was about the *crime* not the myriad effects. If this "logic" is true, how can we prosecute for things like assault when there are too many victims affected in "too many" ways? Could be beaten, could be stabbed, could be long term/short term damage, etc.

Methinks this is good case for "follow the money". All these companies contribute significant funds towards the political machine, who make the laws that then, somehow, seem to let these companies off the hook.

there's no difference, in the end, between banks and tech companies other than scale, it seems.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: shows what I know

that's one of the most clueless comments to ever appear on this site.

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