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EBay Hopes to Brush Off Calif.’s Antitrust Claims

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - California's claims that eBay has a "handshake" agreement with Intuit not to recruit one another's employees does not qualify for an injunction, eBay told a federal judge.

The motion to dismiss, penned by eBay attorney Thomas Brown, says that California both failed to allege an actionable conspiracy and cannot show that it suffered any antitrust injury.

"Despite clear guidance from the court, the state could not produce a single additional fact to demonstrate a threat of future harm arising from the conduct on which its complaint is based," wrote Brown of the firm Paul Hastings.

EBay faces separate lawsuits by federal regulators and California's Attorney General for agreeing with Intuit not to hire one another's employees from 2006 through 2009.

California has demanded the injunction in a second amended complaint that it filed after U.S. District Judge Edward Davila dismissed its first attempt on Sept. 27.

EBay said Friday that the latest version should fare no better as it "does not contain any new factual allegations that bring it closer to meeting this threshold showing, and there is no reason to believe that the state can cure this deficiency through further amendment."

California cannot support its statement that it has no reason to believe that eBay has stopped enforcing the agreement, according to the motion.

"The complaint provides no reason for the court to believe that eBay has not ceased the challenged conduct or that it would or even could in the future enter into a non-solicitation or no-hire agreement with Intuit," Brown wrote.

Without standing to pursue a Sherman Act claim, the state cannot move forward with its remaining California Unfair Competition Law and Cartwright Act claims, and the court should throw out the entire case, the motion concludes.

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