Plaintiff in Silicon Valley anti-poaching suit protests settlement, wants 'day in court'

Posted:
in General Discussion edited May 2014
Nearly three weeks after Apple, Google, Intel and Adobe agreed to settle out of court a class action lawsuit over alleged anti-poaching agreements, the case's class representative is requesting the $324 million settlement be rejected as "unfair and unjust."


Anti-poaching suit's Class Representative Michael Devine. | Source: The New York Times


In a letter sent to U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California Judge Lucy Koh on Sunday, Michael Devine protested the pending settlement agreed to by plaintiffs' lawyers, saying the proposed $324 million settlement is "grossly inadequate." Devine is one of four plaintiffs named in the suit and serves as class representative in the case.

The letter has not yet been made available through official court channels, but Devine posted a copy online, which was subsequently picked up by The New York Times.

In the request, Devine states his belief that the four tech giants are getting off lightly considering the suit asked for $3 billion in damages, a figure that could have been trebled to $9 billion if defendants were found in the wrong. In addition, the $324 million is seen as a slap on the wrist considering each company's massive cash reserves.

"As an analogy, if a shoplifter is caught on video stealing a $400 iPad from the Apple Store, would a fair and just resolution be for the shoplifter to pay Apple $40, keep the iPad, and walk away with no record or admission of wrongdoing," Devine writes. "Of course not, nor is such a resolution appropriate in our case."

At least part of the argument claims class counsel, Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein and Joseph Saveri Law Firm, has more to gain from a settlement than the class it represents. In accepting the proposed figure, the two firms could rake in up to $75 million in fees while leaving the 64,000-member class with only a few thousand dollars each.

Further, Devine points out that class counsel did not notify plaintiffs of meetings that ultimately resulted in the settlement.

"I also wish to inform the Court that I was not informed that the most recent round of mediation that lead to the tentative settlement was even taking place until the day after Plaintiffs' and Defendants' counsel had already reached an agreement," the letter reads. "I should have been notified of this mediation so that I could substantively participate and fulfill my duties as Class Representative."

According to legal experts it would be difficult for the class to fire its attorneys as they were appointed class counsel by Judge Koh at the start of proceedings. In lieu of expelling its current lawyers, class members would need to object to the proposed settlement with a set of newly hired attorneys, arguing that the formerly agreed upon number is insufficient.

It is unclear whether Judge Koh will be receptive to a rejection, especially with $324 million on the table. On the other hand, the sum represents only three percent of a potential trebling of damages, which may not be seen as sufficient in the eyes of the court.

Not taking the suit to trial is perhaps in the best interest of Apple, Google, Intel and Adobe, seeing as the companies' supposedly dirty laundry would be aired. A number of revelations have already come out as part of the case. For example, Apple cofounder Steve Jobs was quite vocal when it came to hiring practices and allegedly made "threats" to fellow tech CEOs regarding non-recruitment policies of then-current Apple employees.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 69
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,190member
    Oh, shut the **** up you fucking whiner. This guy lives in a fantasy world where he imagines he would have gotten "poached" and became a millionaire if it wasnt for this agreement. Accept the settlement and move on with your life, do something useful, instead of being a gold-digging parasite.
  • Reply 2 of 69
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,490member

    Boo hoo. Whatever.

  • Reply 3 of 69
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,998member

    I think they should have gotten nothing...how about that!

  • Reply 4 of 69
    jkichlinejkichline Posts: 1,336member
    Shut it bud. You have or have had a good paying job. You have access to clean drinking water, food and health care. You're just a whiny, over privileged punk who needs a taste of reality.
  • Reply 5 of 69
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,675member

    I thinks someone is being greedy, the same thing the suit was saying about Apple had their cohorts. Really if he did not want to share all the money he should not have invited so many people and their lawyers into his lawsuit then. 

     

    What his lawyers realize they had a huge up hill battle proving that people lost that much in wages over that period of time.

  • Reply 6 of 69
    To the previous commenters, your understanding of the situation is juvenile. You think that just because he has, or could earn more money than you he has less rights? Companies love people like you. You allow them to treat us the way they do.
  • Reply 7 of 69
    mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 7,317member

    Sure, stand out front of Adobe, in the Seattle Freemont District. Great district, greedy lawyer.

  • Reply 8 of 69
    spidy99spidy99 Posts: 6member
    @Slurpy, macexpress, maestro Why is it fair for Apple, Google, Adobe to be greedy and do all the wrong things in the world and not this guy. Are you guys really working for free ? and underpaid? Lawyers always work in the interest of themselves they never work for clients or for the system. If there are worst creatures than leechers that would be lawyers.
    Think logically. $324M /64,000 each employee would roughly get $2000 before taxes after lawyer fee and stuff. There is a reason why he is fighting you won't know the pain as you didn't get impacted.
  • Reply 9 of 69
    tbelltbell Posts: 3,146member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by NotTylerDurden View Post



    To the previous commenters, your understanding of the situation is juvenile. You think that just because he has, or could earn more money than you he has less rights? Companies love people like you. You allow them to treat us the way they do.

     

     

    Arguing by calling people's understanding of the situation juvenile is sort of juvenile. How is it about fewer rights? He agreed to be the class representative for the class using said lawyers. The reality is a settlement is about compromise. Plainitiff's lawyers always ask for an unreasonable amount up front knowing full well they will never get what is asked for.

     

    Moreover, I am unconvinced Apple and company did anything wrong (and I consider myself to be pretty liberal in terms of politics). They stuck an agreement amongst partners (all the companies where working together on various projects) that said they would not actively solicit each others employees. Why is it that partners can't strike an agreement not to actively solicit each others employees? The agreement did not prevent the partners from hiring each others employees that applied for posted jobs, and actively soliciting companies employees who are partnered with one another undermines the partnerships.

     

    This lawsuit sets a dangerous precedent that essentially says a company has an obligation to use recruiters to actively pursue partners employees.  That is absurd. There is a realistic chance the plaintiffs would have lost at trial or years later on appeal. 

  • Reply 10 of 69
    I like Apple's products, but nothing from this case supports such a low cost settlement. The lawyers got a $75 million payday for minimal work and possibly promise of access to the corporate work of these large companies. If the suit had actually involved just ending head hunting of each others employees it would have been at least less sleazy. The final result of this was a freeze on hiring each others employees. That is much less acceptable and should be punished.
  • Reply 11 of 69

    Even his analogy rings wrong - flat out lifting an iPad and paying nothing. Not saying that I support his argument but if I understand his position, it would be more analogous to someone going to an Apple store, selecting a $400 iPad and paying $370 for it and leaving the store, even though it wasn't on discount. He wasn't paid nothing for his work, just less that he thinks he wouldn't gotten if the companies hadn't colluded.

     

    I think that the companies were mostly trying to protect their internal projects from pilfering by headhunting. But NDAs would've have accomplished the same thing, perhaps. Those can be hard to enforce I imagine. But I get the umbrage, I just don't know how you assign a number to it with any accuracy.

  • Reply 12 of 69
    aussiepaulaussiepaul Posts: 144member
    Oh dear, you have no idea...
    tbell wrote: »

    Arguing by calling people's understanding of the situation juvenile is sort of juvenile. How is it about fewer rights? He agreed to be the class representative for the class using said lawyers. The reality is a settlement is about compromise. Plainitiff's lawyers always ask for an unreasonable amount up front knowing full well they will never get what is asked for.

    Moreover, I am unconvinced Apple and company did anything wrong (and I consider myself to be pretty liberal in terms of politics). They stuck an agreement amongst partners (all the companies where working together on various projects) that said they would not actively solicit each others employees. Why is it that partners can't strike an agreement not to actively solicit each others employees? The agreement did not prevent the partners from hiring each others employees that applied for posted jobs, and actively soliciting companies employees who are partnered with one another undermines the partnerships.

    This lawsuit sets a dangerous precedent that essentially says a company has an obligation to use recruiters to actively pursue partners employees.  That is absurd. There is a realistic chance the plaintiffs would have lost at trial or years later on appeal. 
  • Reply 13 of 69
    I agree with the plaintiff. When I heard the settlement I thought it was ridiculous. Each class member would only get abou 5K and that's before lawyers fees. They should each get hundreds of thousands!
  • Reply 14 of 69
    boeyc15boeyc15 Posts: 986member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by TBell View Post

     

     

     

    Arguing by calling people's understanding of the situation juvenile is sort of juvenile. How is it about fewer rights? He agreed to be the class representative for the class using said lawyers. The reality is a settlement is about compromise. Plainitiff's lawyers always ask for an unreasonable amount up front knowing full well they will never get what is asked for.

     

    Moreover, I am unconvinced Apple and company did anything wrong (and I consider myself to be pretty liberal in terms of politics). They stuck an agreement amongst partners (all the companies where working together on various projects) that said they would not actively solicit each others employees. Why is it that partners can't strike an agreement not to actively solicit each others employees? The agreement did not prevent the partners from hiring each others employees that applied for posted jobs, and actively soliciting companies employees who are partnered with one another undermines the partnerships.

     

    This lawsuit sets a dangerous precedent that essentially says a company has an obligation to use recruiters to actively pursue partners employees.  That is absurd. There is a realistic chance the plaintiffs would have lost at trial or years later on appeal. 


       Sorry, call me mister cynical to believe just because the worker applied to a web site he/she would then be considered/hired.   IMO- if Jobs etc put out a 'list'(not saying they did), web sight or no, that person won't be hired. If word got out... don't touch google engineers... no google engineers are going to be hired.

  • Reply 15 of 69
    smallwheelssmallwheels Posts: 584member

    The judge needs to reject this settlement offer. It is just flat out insane and insulting. This needs to go to trial. The truth about the illegal activities and collusion between these super wealthy companies needs to come out. That is the only way the government will know the truth about what each of them did. Then proper safeguards will be able to be implemented to prevent it from happening again within these companies and others not named in the suit. 

  • Reply 16 of 69
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    People who say that all the affected employees (not just this one representative) should just accept this because they are lucky to be alive and working at all... Why shouldn't the same logic apply to Apple, Google and the other companies who did wrong? Why automatically side with the corporations? Shouldn't they "just be grateful" they were able to have talented employees and mess with those employees' lives for so many years while profiting from their labors?

    The amount IS a meaningless slap on the wrist, clearly.
  • Reply 17 of 69
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,738member

    Workers have too many rights nowadays, and who's fault is it that the lawyers are making away with 75 million, while the plaintiffs only get a few thousand each?

  • Reply 18 of 69
    I can't believe the stupidity of some of the comments. So you're all for the free market, except when it's inconvenient? The behavior of these companies is as monopolistic, anti-competitive and anti-American as it gets, they held back the salaries of the entire profession back during a period of explosive growth in order to maximize their profits, and they'd be getting away with barely a slap on the wrist! They need to be severely punished. Even a 2 billion fine would be NOTHING compared to how much money they fleeced programmers with their anti-competitive behavior.
  • Reply 19 of 69
    hill60hill60 Posts: 6,992member
    If you wanted a job somewhere else, why didn't you look for it and apply for it just like the rest of us poor schmucks.

    You should get nothing you lazy whiner.
  • Reply 20 of 69
    robin huberrobin huber Posts: 3,295member
    Sore winner.
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