Apple Inc., Google Inc., Intel Corp. and Adobe Systems Inc. agreed to pay $324.5 million to settle an employee antitrust lawsuit over claims they conspired to suppress salaries by not recruiting one another’s workers.
Lawyers for employees who sued the companies are seeking a judge’s preliminary approval of the deal, according to a filing in federal court in San Jose, California. The accord, covering more than 64,000 technical employees, was reached April 24. Terms were disclosed in the filing.
Workers settled for about a 10th of the $3 billion they planned to seek at a trial that was set for May 27. Under federal antitrust law, damages won at a trial might have been tripled. The $324 million settlement amounts to 0.4 percent of the combined total revenue earned by the four companies in their most recent quarter.
The companies agreed to deposit $1 million of the settlement amount into an escrow account within 10 days of preliminary court approval. The remainder is due within seven days after final court approval, according to the filing. The deal includes a broad release for the companies from future claims on restrictions on competition for employment.
Lawyers for the workers intend to seek as much as 25 percent in attorneys’ fees, plus expenses of as much as $1.2 million, according to the filing. Additional award payments of $80,000 will be sought for each named plaintiff who served as a class representative.
One employee, Michael Devine, objected to the settlement and isn’t covered by the preliminary approval request, according to the filing.
In a separate filing, lawyers for the workers requested court approval to keep confidential the terms under which the companies may terminate the settlement. The deal may be undone if enough class members opt out, according to court papers.
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