Judge rejects $324 million anti-poaching settlement from Apple and others

apple hq headquarters

In 2011, tech employees levied a class action anti-poaching lawsuit against Apple, Google, and other companies. The suit covered more than 60,000 workers, who claimed the firms conspired to keep their salaries lower by entering in a non-poach agreement with one another.

It was reported in April that Apple, Google, Intel and Adobe had reached a settlement for $324 million, but apparently Judge Lucy Koh (yes, that Judge Koh) didn’t like that number. Judge Koh officially rejected the proposed offer today, saying that it needed to be higher…

Bloomberg reports:

Apple Inc. (AAPL), Google Inc. (GOOG), Intel Corp. (INTC) and Adobe Systems Inc. (ADBE) failed to win approval of a settlement of claims they schemed to not recruit each other’s workers because a judge said employees deserve more than $324.5 million.

U.S. District Judge Lucy H. Koh in San Jose, California, today ruled that the amount to be paid by the technology giants was insufficient in light of a $20 million settlement reached earlier with three other companies sued by employees — Intuit Inc. (INTU) and Walt Disney Co. (DIS)’s animation studio Pixar and visual-effects specialist Lucasfilm Ltd.

In her ruling, which you can read here, Judge Koh states that using the Disney-Pixar settlement as a yardstick, the appropriate benchmark settlement for this lawsuit would be at least $380 million, that’s a good $50 million more than what the tech companies are currently offering.

It’s still considerably less than the $3 billion in damages the plaintiffs were originally seeking, though, which they could’ve had a shot at if the case had went to trial. That, of course, is still a possibility after today’s rejection, but there’s a good chance neither side wants it to come to that.