Apple seeks dismissal of A123 lawsuit over alleged employee poaching

Posted:
in General Discussion edited March 2015
Apple on Tuesday filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit leveled by battery maker A123 over alleged poaching activities, saying the complaint failed to meet certain legal requirements.

An inside look at the Venturi Buckeye Bullet 3 land speed racing vehicle with A123 battery technology.


In its court filing, Apple argues A123's original complaint "fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted," meaning the battery maker failed to meet minimal pleading requirements. The filing was spotted by Reuters earlier today.

A123 is suing Apple for allegedly poaching five key employees from the battery maker's advanced System Venture Technologies Division. The division's duties are not clear, but the company claims its employees left "under suspicious circumstances," starting with former CTO Mujeeb Ijaz last June.

Along with individual claims against the former employees relating to breaches of non-disclosure, non-compete and non-solicitation clauses, A123 asserts Apple intentionally interfered with contractual obligations and raided its business.

The lawsuit comes amid a whirlwind of rumors revolving around a so-called "Apple Car." It has been speculated that the Cupertino, Calif., company is building out an advanced batteries division possibly related to electric vehicle cells.

It was reported last week that Apple and A123 engaged in settlement talks, but the discussions have yet to bear fruit.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 10
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,558member

    Smack 'em in da head, Apple!

  • Reply 2 of 10
    boredumbboredumb Posts: 1,408member

    I guess the Master Plan of recruiting mediocre employees nobody wanted wasn't working out?

  • Reply 3 of 10
    I forgot about the car with all the announcements and news the past few days.
  • Reply 4 of 10
    jd_in_sbjd_in_sb Posts: 1,483member
    Is "poaching" employees illegal? I would think that it is just capitalism in action: offering higher paying jobs to people currently employed elsewhere.
  • Reply 5 of 10
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by jd_in_sb View Post



    Is "poaching" employees illegal? I would think that it is just capitalism in action: offering higher paying jobs to people currently employed elsewhere.

    It's only illegal when Apple does it.

  • Reply 6 of 10
    runbuhrunbuh Posts: 315member
    jd_in_sb wrote: »
    Is "poaching" employees illegal? I would think that it is just capitalism in action: offering higher paying jobs to people currently employed elsewhere.
    Check the original lawsuit filing, but I believe that they are accusing Apple of working with/through the first person that Apple hired from A123 to hire others away from A123. A battery geek going to work for Apple on battery technology, while recruiting other people from his former battery technology employer, potentially violates the non-disclosure, non-compete, and non-solicitation clauses in his employment contract with the former company. If Apple was complicit in this, then they become a part of the contact violations.

    *I am not a lawyer.
  • Reply 7 of 10
    elrothelroth Posts: 1,201member

    They should have negotiated an agreement with Apple to not poach each others' employees. Oh, wait...

     

    Seriously, what is normally called poaching isn't illegal, but as runbuh (runbuh?) points out, encouraging people to violate their non-disclosure, non-compete clauses may have legal repercussions. I'm sure it has to be proven that the clauses were actually breached. A123 went into bankruptcy not that long ago, and was bought out by a Chinese company. I'm sure morale wasn't very high among the employees. 

  • Reply 8 of 10
    focherfocher Posts: 637member

    There's a fundamental problem with non-solicitation and non-compete clauses - they attempt to bind parties to restrictions without actually involving those parties.

     

    There really shouldn't be ANY enforcement of such provisions in an agreement, even against those who sign them - which is often done in a state of duress and only during a person's employment - imagine your boss insisting on you signing restrictions after you've been hired and with no consideration.

     

    If employers want to retain employees, there are other mechanisms available yet almost always avoided. First, enter into an employment contract. It is ridiculous that employers are allowed to place any restrictions on at will employees. Want a restriction? Then enter into a contract and compensate the person for the restriction. Second, an employer always has the most common tool available. Pay them more money. Compete in the marketplace.

     

    Theses clauses are nothing more than an attempt to pay market rates for employees. Don't want to pay them? Then accept the consequence that they will go elsewhere. Think they have unique skills or knowledge? Then pay them to stick around.

  • Reply 9 of 10
    runbuhrunbuh Posts: 315member
    focher wrote: »
    There's a fundamental problem with non-solicitation and non-compete clauses - they attempt to bind parties to restrictions without actually involving those parties.

    There really shouldn't be ANY enforcement of such provisions in an agreement, even against those who sign them - which is often done in a state of duress and only during a person's employment - imagine your boss insisting on you signing restrictions after you've been hired and with no consideration.

    If employers want to retain employees, there are other mechanisms available yet almost always avoided. First, enter into an employment contract. It is ridiculous that employers are allowed to place any restrictions on at will employees. Want a restriction? Then enter into a contract and compensate the person for the restriction. Second, an employer always has the most common tool available. Pay them more money. Compete in the marketplace.

    Theses clauses are nothing more than an attempt to pay market rates for employees. Don't want to pay them? Then accept the consequence that they will go elsewhere. Think they have unique skills or knowledge? Then pay them to stick around.

    Can you clarify what you mean by "contract"? Looks like the defendants who left A123 had employment contracts with A123, but those contracts are what contained the non-compete, non-disclosure, and non-solicitation clauses.
  • Reply 10 of 10
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,558member
    runbuh wrote: »
    Can you clarify what you mean by "contract"? Looks like the defendants who left A123 had employment contracts with A123, but those contracts are what contained the non-compete, non-disclosure, and non-solicitation clauses.

    That company also went out of business. They were then bought up by a Chinese company, which is the current owner.
Sign In or Register to comment.