$415M Tech-Wage Deal Wins Judge’s Approval

     SAN JOSE, Calif. (CN) – A federal judge preliminarily approved a $415 million settlement for a class of tech workers embroiled in a wage dispute with Silicon Valley titans Apple, Google, Intel and Adobe, finding the offer more fair and reasonable than the $325 million proposal she rejected last year.
     U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh issued the order late Tuesday, following a hearing Monday in which she appeared poised to approve the deal.
     Five software engineers sued the tech giants, plus Intuit and Walt Disney subsidiaries LucasFilm and Pixar, in 2010 over illegal “no cold-call agreements” that restricted or eliminated competition for high-tech employees. The poaching ban allegedly maintained internal salary structures at the companies from 2005 to 2009, and involved “gentleman’s agreements” via CEO-to-CEO emails between the late Steve Jobs and other leading Silicon Valley heads.
     The class will receive $435 million total when combined with the $20 million settlement reached with Intuit and Walt Disney subsidiaries LucasFilm and Pixar.
     A final approval hearing will be held on July 9, where Koh will consider the class attorneys’ motions for fees and costs. At Monday’s hearing, Koh said the fee requested by Daniel Girard of Girard Gibbs, who represented class representative Michael Devine, seemed too high for the work he described.
     Koh also seemed disinclined to grant the $160,000 service award Devine requested.
     “I’m not inclined to keep whittling away the money for the class,” the judge said.

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