back to article Silicon Valley bod in no-hire pact lawsuit urges court to REJECT his OWN lawyers' settlement

One of the plaintiffs in the no-hire pact lawsuit against Silicon Valley tech firms has asked the court to reject a $324m settlement deal negotiated by his own lawyers because he says it’s “grossly inadequate”. Lawyers in the case reached a settlement with Apple, Google and other giants accused of conspiring to keep IT workers' …

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Mushroom

Thought so for a long time ...

IT workers are greedy bosstards!

Edit: "Just kidding!"

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Re: Thought so for a long time ...

"Devine, one of only four named plaintiffs in the class-action suit covering thousands of tech workers in the valley"

$324m/1000s isn't very much.

Am I missing something or is this a bootnote story again?

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Re: Thought so for a long time ...

($325M - lawyers 25%)/1000s is even less

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Re: Thought so for a long time ...

Only 25%? No wonder they agreed to so little. Those are cheap ass lawyers you've got working for you. Once it goes to trial, even if they opt to settle out of court, normal fee is 50%.

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Re: Thought so for a long time ...

Typical civil suits focus on restoring the injured party/ies to parity with where they would have been if the offense had not occurred.

So, if you assume

- 5000 affected workers

- an average salary of $50,000/yr

- 10 years of offense

- 5% interest year on year

You wind up with a settlement amount of $261,250,00 or $52,250 per person.

Which makes ballpark numbers look about right for the proposed settlement on the usual settlement basis. Whether or not the usual settlement basis is fair is the real question.

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Facepalm

If you enter into a Class Action then you join the CLASS and you accept the result of the class action.

If you disagree with the settlement negotiated by the class action, then the only thing you can do is seek to take the class action to court, and if enough of you disagree then you start a class action against the first class action. But you'll probably find such action is prohibited by the terms of joining the first class action.

Presumably the plaintiffs lawyers get a percentage of the settlement, so given its in their best pockets to negotiate the best deal they've probably already reached that point and suspect the court would award a lower amount.

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Or...

"so given its in their best pockets to negotiate the best deal they've probably already reached that point and suspect the court would award a lower amount."

Or, they can grab a pile of cash now, without too much work, and on to the next case. Why wait years and do lots of work?

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Sure - The interests of the lawyers are the same as the plaintiffs when the Lawyers get cash and the plaintiffs get BS worthless coupons valued at millions, tens of millions or hundreds of millions to up the cash ante to the lawyers and minimize the real out of pocket to the defendant. Right and "legal ethics' is not an oxymoron. I guess you are a class action plaintiff's or defendant's attorney, or else you are truly clueless as to today's reality in class action lawsuits and the awful scam they have become.

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Mushroom

"Presumably the plaintiffs lawyers get a percentage of the settlement..."

Yeah, about 95% I think

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Joke

The tentative settlement, if it stands, amounts to big profits for plaintiffs’ counsel, insulation from real liability for the defendants and locks in a significant net loss for the class

Aha, so he does understand how American law is supposed to work.

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Anonymous Coward

The Class counsel

Get paid to accept the lowest figure else it cuts into their "settlement acceptance fees"

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Anonymous Coward

His naivity is almost cute

Quiet peon, your opinions as the victim in this case are irrelevant! The lawyers will get their massive cash payoff as fees, the corporations involved still make a net profit from their wrongdoing, and you get your token little iTunes or AdWords voucher as settlement.

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I knew his name sounded familiar. He should have gone the hunger strike route. At least if you starve yourself dead you'll get some level of sympathy. But if you go boo hooing that you're not getting enough money from a court settlement then it's going to make people wonder if maybe your wages weren't handicapped because you're a big whinging dick.

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If there hadn't been illegal (according to the story) agreements in place there would not be a lawsuit. Since there is, it does not seem to me unreasonable for the settlement to be at least in the right ballpark for the "damages" (assuming his stated less than 1% for the affected period statement is true).

Should the case reach court does in no way guarantee bigger (or any) payout either. Obviously lawyers are taking the easy way out to get their wad of cash.

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Illegal cartel behaviour

Should be approached with a fine starting at 10% of turnover.

Not profits. Those can be made to be negative with creative accounting. It's much harder to make all those squillions of income go away.

It would also hurt the companies involved like hell, which is a GOOD thing.

In some countries the executives who exchanged these emails would be personally, criminally liable too.

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Re: Illegal cartel behaviour

You realize that for most companies, fining them 10% of revenue could cause them to go bankrupt. Walmart, for instance, had $466 billion in revenue last year and $17 billion profit. That would go to a loss of nearly $30 billion under your scheme. They're big enough to sustain such a hit, but for other companies with margins that thin it would be the end for them.

Is that a good outcome, if two companies conspiring to avoid poaching were both driven into bankruptcy, so that all the workers who had their salaries pushed down now become jobless and probably can't recover the bulk of the fine due to that bankruptcy?

What they did was bad, but nothing like bad enough to result in a fine of tens of billions of dollars.

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Re: Illegal cartel behaviour

"Is that a good outcome, if two companies conspiring to avoid poaching were both driven into bankruptcy, so that all the workers who had their salaries pushed down now become jobless and probably can't recover the bulk of the fine due to that bankruptcy?"

Yes. It's called "setting an example." They do it with proles often enough, and they set laws for individuals such that they are punitive to the point of ruinous all the time. (See: $100k+ for torrenting a single MP3.)

The idea here is deterrence. Corporations do not have morality. They can only be dissuaded from behaviors through deterrence. A slap on the wrist is not deterrence. It isn't enough to cause a shareholder revolt, executive firings and other dramatic and drastic repercussions that will ultimately make those who run companies think twice before breaking the law.

Personally, I'd put a contingency in the law to attempt to mitigate bankruptcy problems, but I think it is perfectly acceptable to drive a company out of business if it breaks the law, especially when the law they are breaking affects many individuals. Examples would be cartel behavior, abuse of monopoly position, conspiracy to depress wages or externalizing costs of manufacture by destroying the environment.

A) Ensure that when a company is driven out of business due to deterrence-class lawsuits the administrator for the company's bankruptcy procedures can go after the executives and board members. Make piercing the corporate veil a hell of a lot easier when the decisions taken (and the laws broken) are more than just incidental infractions of procedure and bureaucracy.

My standard for such a judgement would be this: if a regular citizen would go to jail for the act(such as murder, environmental destruction, etc) - or for defrauding an equivalent number of people out of an equivalent amount of money (cartel behavior, wage depressing, etc) - that the corporate veil can be pierced.

B) Stipulate in damages calculations that any damages calculation that has a reasonable chance of driving the company to bankruptcy be put before court appointed experts such that they can determine a reasoned balance between the maximum % of the penalty originally awarded and keeping the company from bankruptcy.

If the damages assessed are such that only a minute fraction of the damages would be paid out in order to stave off bankruptcy then the company should be placed into administration and as much of the company sold off as possible to both meet it's extant debt obligations and the settlement obligations, even if that means wrapping up the endeavor altogether.

C) In the event that a company will be driven to bankruptcy or wrapped up completely as the result of such actions there should be a pre-designed social safety net to help employees transition. I'm not talking welfare here - which is mostly aimed at helping people through longer term economic downturns - but a form of employment insurance that is more short term and tactical and aimed squarely at helping the people who lost their job in the bankrupting company get a job at the company that will be filling the void.

The above isn't perfect. There's gaps that people smarter than me need to think on, correct and expand on...but the needs of the people outweigh the needs of the executives...or the shareholders. Corporations are given too much leniency, especially when it comes to actions that affect thousands or even millions of people. The status quo does society a disservice. It needs to be altered. I believe that alteration needs to be rather dramatic.

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Re: Illegal cartel behaviour

Setting an example? What example? The only thing that will come out of this is that no poaching agreements won't be formalized. That was really stupid anyway. There isn't a single industry where the top players don't have no poaching agreements for executives and high value specialist staff. That's the way business is done, has always been done and will always be done. They should never have formalized a traditional gentleman's agreement and that's what they're being punished for, not the agreement.

The other lesson will be that the named plaintiffs will be picking almonds in California within a year. It is quite apparent there are attitude problems there and it'll be better for everybody when these people are pushed out of the industry. The chief whiner there is potentially tanking the entire suit for everyone involved. He would sure as hell sue a company out of business and not give a single fuck about the others who lost out.

The industry will be better with him and his ilk gone anyway. They depress wages far more than hiring agreements ever will.

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And then there is the effect it had on pay throughout the industry!

It would probably be hard to prove, but I would argue that this practice had the effect of suppressing wages for everyone in the Bay Area, and even throughout the industry. During that time I had recruiters calling me regularly about jobs in Silly Valley and SF but the pay scale was about the same as I was already making, in an area where house prices were less than 1/2 what they were out there. To have even an approximation of the same standard of living I would have had to make double what I was making. So the class action could well have included essentially every EE and SW in the US.

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Re: And then there is the effect it had on pay throughout the industry!

Not just in the USA. They were actively attempting to recruit worldwide at those rates. I got a few of those calls.

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Re: And then there is the effect it had on pay throughout the industry!

I can vividly recall HPs management talks in the past 13 years where they have constantly been telling us that they are paying industry comparable rates and that the employee attrition rates would indicate that management was paying fair wages. All the while they were giving themselves excessive pay rises and bonuses year upon year, claiming their peers were getting more and it was just and fair that they kept pace. It was obvious back then that there was collusion going on between the CEOs of all IT companies. You need to search the NYT archives using "google apple class action" and read the articles there, especially the links to the letters that those CEOs were passing back and forth.... It will make you sick. So much for corporate responsibility and social responsibility. All of it just hypocrisy at its most vile form.

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About time some plaintiff's actually realize their lawyers are screwing them

It is about time some plaintiff's realize that it is their own lawyers who are screwing them. Class Actions in general and Tech Class Actions in particular are designed to take any dubious (or legitimate) claim, enrich the lawyers on both sides and insulate the affected companies with completely bogus inflated dollar valuation to maximize the cash to the lawyers. All the worthless coupon deals valued at tens or even hundreds of million dollars while the only real cash goes to the lawyers and (usually the named plaintiffs so they quietly go along with the scam) everyone else gets coupons that have no real economic value ($20 off full retail of a disk drive you can buy everyday for $40-50 off for example - multiplied by millions or tens of millions to get a fictitious Multi-Hundred Million dollar settlement so the lawyers fees (paid in cash of course) are tens of millions of dollars).

This judge seemed to actually understand the game being played here and has already expressed his outrage at the Lawyers Fees so maybes just maybe sanctions will follow. The only answer to this kind of BS is to require the Lawyers to be paid in the same Script as the Plaintiffs receive - Let them try to eat off of their "hundred Million dollars worth" of BS coupons and this would stop in a hurry. And everyone's costs would go down on everything we buy.

But since the Trial Lawyers' Party controls the White House and the Senate don't expect real reform. And with 10's of Millions in Campaign contribution money to distribute even a change in party just probably moves the largess from one politicians pocket to another. Sad what our "Justice System" has come to. Sad what our political system has come to. Sad the state of a nation when "Legal Ethics" is an Oxymoron.

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Re: About time some plaintiff's actually realize their lawyers are screwing them

"But since the Trial Lawyers' Party controls the White House and the Senate"

Oh get over yourself. The Republicans are just as made up of MBAs and lawyers as the Democrats. And they are all as guilty of compromising their ethics over government pork and campaign donations as the next guy.

The differences between the parties boil down to this:

Extremist Republicans would have the US enslaving non-whites, evicting foreigners, women barefoot and pregnant, sex education was taboo, science was banned, homosexuals were murdered and contraception equated with witchcraft. English would be the official language and some flavor of protestantism the official religion.

Extremist Democrats would have the US living as an agrarian society where births were highly regulated (to control population), science banned (it's not "natural" or "organic"), wealth redistribution would be dialed up to 11 and men would be "paying" for the sins of other people's grandfathers for generations to come.

Both are batshit fucking crazy, and both groups of extremists would spend themselves into a debt hole that would make the extant problems the US faces look quaint.

In the middle, however, you find the majority of Americans. These are people that, on average, are socially progressive and fiscally conservative. They want to see the wealth gap narrow, but not to the point of guaranteeing equality of outcome at the point of a gun. They want to see the government debt dealt with, but not with such drastic action that it results in a reset of quality of life for the average American back to the 1930s.

Average Americans just don't give a flying fuck about sexuality, religious choice, country of origin or so on and so forth. Other people can be who they want to be; what matters to the average American is that they have a good job, a reasonable expectation of financial stability in the future and that they leave a better world to their children than the one they themselves were born into.

Both parties are corrupted by the extremists. The extremists are - by their very nature - willing to put a lot more time and money into convincing everyone of their cause. That means placating the extremists heads off a great many problems early on and it ultimately becomes the focus of every party and every individual campaign.

The problem is that extremists are allowed a disproportionate voice. This gets to party financing, political advertisements and more. Regular people - who are by default fairly apathetic - can't have their voices heard amongst the din.

They also - at least in the USA - don't have a choice. Both parties are completely batshit crazy. There is no "Sanity party of America" that provides a centrist view. There is no party to go to in the USA for people who are socially progressive and fiscally conservative. Hell, that's rare in almost any western nation.

People corrupt. That means special interests worm their way into the heart of all political parties, especially when the money is allowed to flow completely freely. A newly emerged party would be no different from the established parties, because the fundamental mechanisms that cause the imbalance of voices is never being addressed.

Thus your lawyers - and hollywood, oil and gas, argibusiness, big pharma, etc - are all over both parties like a bad stain on the back of one's undies. Lawyers don't court "just the Democrats", because that would be idiotic, and lawyers are anything but. You go after both parties so that regardless of which one wins, you win. That is how every single lobbyist on earth plays it.

Additionally, those professions which attract the power-hungry to begin with (such as lawyers) will ultimately vomit forth political candidates at all levels of government and for all parties at roughly the same rate. This is because most political candidates don't stand for anything. They merely crave power. Thus they will work with any party that will have get them elected and push any agenda or platform they feel will get them elected.

Neither Republicans nor Democrats are (on the whole) heroes or idealogues. Some are, but damned few on either side.

What should stand out is that this isn't the case everywhere. There are a hell of a lot more idealogues in Canadian politics (as one example) as well as Nordic politics and even German politics than there are in the US or the UK. (Though Canada's new election laws are having a dramatic effect on the reduction of ideologues at all levels.)

So, blame not a given party, or even a given pressure group. The system in that nation is irrevocably fucked. Only some very dramatic overhauls can set things right...but the power climate is such that it make take a revolution for that to happen.

The day Citizens United is thrown out is the day the wheels start turning back towards the people. I fear that will not come within my lifetime.

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Re: About time some plaintiff's actually realize their lawyers are screwing them

No where do you address any of the actual issues discussed. You ignore the actual real results of a broken and corrupt Class Action Law Suit environment because you got your panties in a wad over a factual statement that the Democrat Party is the Trial Lawyer Party and interestingly enough also the "Big Business Party" at the same time. So you get the corrupt and pernicious results described.

Had I wished to describe the rest of the corruption of the Democrat Party, there is a wealth of actual factual material to go to - such as the corruption that arises from Public Employee Unions who effectively are now structured to vote themselves massive forced union dues to buy themselves ever more influence on the backs of the productive portion of society. Instead you throw out outrageous canards about mythical wars on women, minorities and others that are completely and totally baseless and merely intended to distract from real damage being done by the great majority of the Democrat Party.

Keep throwing out BS and hope with the help of a compliant media enough of it sticks around long enough to survive the next election, but don't count on it my friend. Claiming any significant portion of the Democrat Party or this Administration is anything but the absolutely corrupt totalitarians that they are is the true joke and unfortunately we've had to live through 8 years of these idiots already. And yes I said 8 years as the Democrat Congress has spent 8 full years either intentionally with ill intent for all trying to destroy the US economy, or unintentionally because they really are the completely clueless fools and clowns they demonstrate themselves to be every day.

Unfortunately the only adults in the Democrat Party were run out by the ideologues over a decade ago. But keep throwing your oh so balanced BS, there are enough miseducated and uninformed people in the nation you might yet again prevail. After all you've managed to elect a totally incompetent narcissist to the Presidency not just once but twice.

By the way in your focus on the one very slight political statement in my first post you ignored that i also stated that the same corrupters would shift their funds and their influence should the next election cycle run contrary to their desires.

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Re: About time some plaintiff's actually realize their lawyers are screwing them

I do entirely take issue with your asinine assertion that "the Democrat Party is the Trial Lawyer Party" is a " factual statement". This is false. Both of the American political parties are equally in bed with trial lawyers and equally infested by them at all levels.

This is not a "slight political statement" by you at all. It is indicative of significant bias. Your followup post merely confirms it. You are not an objective observer of USian politics and thus aren't going to be able to suggest workable solutions that solve systemic issues because your view of the world is blinkered by partisan politics.

Also, for the record, "you've managed to elect a totally incompetent narcissist to the Presidency not just once but twice" is utterly false. My country doesn't have a President. Though I note that the US's past two presidents would be easily described by your chattering inanity.

Perhaps you need a lie down.

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Re: About time some plaintiff's actually realize their lawyers are screwing them

Funnily enough, only one of those Presidents had to take the election to trial to get into office...

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