back to article Employees grab Apple and Google's $325 MEEELLION olive branch in hiring suit

A collection of some of Silicon Valley's biggest companies has struck a deal with employees to end their class-action suit over allegations that the companies colluded to prevent hiring away workers. Apple, Google, Intel, and Adobe have put forth a proposal which would see the companies contribute to a $324.5m settlement fund to …

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Happy

Do they have only one judge in Southern California?

Unless this Lucy Koh is another Lucy Koh than the one presiding over the Samsung - Apple case, and I believe another tech case? Please enlighten me.

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Re: Do they have only one judge in Southern California?

I count 15 active judges in the district. Don't immediately see how cases are distributed. But unless strict round-robin is enforced, you may be seeing the preference by some judges for *not* taking on the pain, and then the preference for those that *can* take the pain.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucy_H._Koh

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_District_Court_for_the_Northern_District_of_California

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Re: Do they have only one judge in Southern California?

My bad, should be Northern California.

15 judges does not seem a lot. With the amount of lawsuits that America is known for, I would expect that they would need a lot more. And with some trials lasting many months, like the Samsung - Apple one, again the number seems very low.

I know that a judge works on multiple cases in the same time, but still, I would expect them to take the time to investigate besides what exhibits are shown in court.

My ignorance of the finer points in the American judicial system is visible, and still logic tells me there should be more judges for such a populous area.

I knew of course it's the same Lucy Koh.

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Bronze badge

Re: Do they have only one judge in [Northern] California?

RaidOne, the US district courts, although federal, are creatures of Congress rather than of the constitution. Congress determines which types of trials can be conducted in the district courts, which is why 15 district judges in a single district aren’t completely overwhelmed with cases. Some types of trials can be held either in a state court or in a federal district court, at the option of the plaintiff. Perhaps the combination of state courts and federal district courts here might be roughly analogous to the combination of the divisions of the High Court of Justice of England and Wales.

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This judge is NOT making this decision...

This is a CIVIL class action suit. The judge would only note legal errors in an agreement between plaintiffs & accused. If they want to go to judgement, THEN the judge's proclivities become important.

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Another sad day for the rule of law.

So yet again corporations get away with doing something whose profits probably cost them a lot less than the out-of-court settlement. That amount is probably less than petty cash for these companies.

It's a very sad legal system when those doing wrong can pay off the "complainants" and the government then sits back and says "oh, nothing wrong must have happened then". Kind of like mobsters making the witnesses disappear - but legal.

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Re: Another sad day for the rule of law.

So, like you sayin' makin' witnesses disappear ain't legal?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Another sad day for the rule of law.

Anti-poach agreements can be pretty useful.

It stops people stealing technology and then using it to the benefit of their new employer.

For a while Intel screwed Motorola in this way, poaching their staff and their secrets.

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Re: Another sad day for the rule of law.

I would think the proper (read: legal) way to deal with something like this was to bind certain knowing employees with some kind of gag-order pertaining to their work?!

Adding such a clause to a contract might up the wage a bit, so I can see why it's easier (and now also cheaper) to simply make shady dealings with other companies.

Did the government already take some action against these companies? Will they? Can no action be taken at all?

These question are simply to quench the fire that is my ignorance (though it will likely continue to burn bright)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Another sad day for the rule of law.

Quote: "some kind of gag-order"

A lot of these end up being unenforcible when tested in court and if memory serves me right are illegal under California law (one of the reasons why IBM, CA, etc still to this day try to stick to a contract with a legal residency in New England).

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Re: Another sad day for the rule of law.

If the complainants agree to it, how exactly is it a failure of the rule of law? Corporations broke the law, employees sued them, corporations are paying up.

Maybe you think the penalty should be larger, but that's up to those who have been harmed by it to decide, not you.

Keep in mind, this is a civil violation, not criminal, so there isn't anyone to jail. If you don't like that, take it up with your legislators.

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Re: Another sad day for the rule of law.

This is a GOOD day for the rule of law.

Or, more specifically, the lawyers who manage it. Class action suits are always great for the lawyers, and the collective payout seems quite nice - till you do the sums and find out it equates to about a couple of lunches for those who are being "paid out". Remember that payout contains the legal fees?

The company actually pays out the most using this method as it turns out, because if the employees sought individual suits, they *might* get more (on paper), but it never gets to that because most never bother, or their payout gets eaten up by the lawyers (see above - they always win). However, as you said, it equates to petty cash for the corporations anyway.

So, it's great for the lawyers and corporations, whoever is left can get screwed.

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Re: Another sad day for the rule of law.

>Corporations broke the law, employees sued them, corporations are paying up.

Shouldn't the state be responsible for enforcing the law?

If you rob a bank, can you wait until all the account holders get together to bring a class action lawsuit to get their money back and then pay them a fraction of the amount they lost ?

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Meh

So, after legal fees...

...which are "skimmed" off the top of the pot first, what are the complainants going to get, about a buck-ninety-eight each? Whoop-dee-diddle.

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Re: So, after legal fees...

It's about $5000 each, less legal fees

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Pay the affected employees?

"The proposed settlement would pay the employees who are involved in the class action..."

Go on, pull my other one.

If the actual affected employees actually see a dollar from this, I'll be surprised.

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Happy

Re: Pay the affected employees?

You bastard! That wasn't your leg at all!

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