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Steve Jobs was 'central figure' in Silicon Valley hiring case, judge says

James Niccolai | Aug. 11, 2014
In rejecting a proposed settlement in Silicon Valley's closely watched "no hire" case, District Judge Lucy Koh said on Friday there's strong evidence that Steve Jobs was a central figure, if not "the" central figure, in the alleged conspiracy to suppress workers' wages.

The evidence that's been collected related to Google is "equally compelling," Koh wrote. Schmidt, Jobs and Intuit Chairman Bill Campbell were "key players in creating and enforcing the anti-solicitation agreements," she wrote in her order.

For example, emails show that Schmidt "terminated at least two recruiters for violations of anti-solicitation agreements, and threatened to terminate more."

There is also compelling evidence against Intel, Koh said, and evidence that Adobe was "aware of the impact of its antisolicitation agreements."

Given the strength of the evidence, Koh apparently thinks the workers' attorneys should push for a bigger settlement or take the case to trial. One expert hired for the case has estimated the workers' compensation should be as high as $3 billion, she noted. And that amount could be trebled under antitrust law if the workers won their case.

She has called a case management conference for Sept. 10, where she'll meet with the attorneys and decide how to proceed.



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