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Judge: $324M Settlement In Silicon Valley Tech Worker Case Not Enough

Soulskill posted about 3 months ago | from the good-news-for-the-lawyers dept.

Google 150

itwbennett writes: "A proposed $324.5 million settlement of claims that Silicon Valley companies (Adobe, Apple, Google, and Intel) suppressed worker wages by agreeing not to hire each others' employees may not be high enough, a judge signaled on Thursday. Judge Lucy Koh didn't say whether she would approve the settlement, but she did say in court that she was worried about whether that amount was fair to the roughly 64,000 technology workers represented in the case. Throughout Thursday's hearing, she questioned not just the amount but the logic behind the settlement as presented by lawyers for both the plaintiffs and the defendants."

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Misleading summary (4, Interesting)

i kan reed (749298) | about 3 months ago | (#47282023)

All the judge did, was ask whether historical fines to other companies are an appropriate precedent for Apple, Google, and the rest. This isn't "questioning the amount and logic" but regular old due diligence.

Re:Misleading summary (1)

SpzToid (869795) | about 3 months ago | (#47282097)

It isn't as if another version was already submitted earlier, perhaps with a better summary for the editors to use:

http://slashdot.org/submission... [slashdot.org]

Re:Misleading summary (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47282515)

If you're not aware of this, then know this:

(like most media outlets) Slashdot is pretty fucking corrupt. I've seen countless cases where people submit great articles, then a friend of the editors submits the same thing but pure garbage by comparison and it flies up almost instantly.

It makes some sense since knowing the submitter helps them do a quicker assessment of the value of the story, but in the end, it leads to a really shitty environment that discourages contributions.

Factor in the stupid not-appropriate-for-Slashdot stories they run and you'll see why this place is turning to shit and losing relevance quickly.

Re:Misleading summary (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 3 months ago | (#47282955)

An alternative [soylentnews.org]

Re:Misleading summary (3, Informative)

Walking The Walk (1003312) | about 3 months ago | (#47283101)

It isn't as if another version was already submitted earlier, perhaps with a better summary for the editors to use:

http://slashdot.org/submission... [slashdot.org]

The accepted story was submitted by itwbennett [slashdot.org] , and links to a story on itworld.com. I think it's a fair assumption that it was submitted by Amy Bennett [itworld.com] , ITworld's Managing Editor. According to her achievements, she's had 2^9 submissions accepted, from which we can conclude that Slashdot editors probably prioritize her submissions. I imagine her submissions are fairly well written, link to a somewhat reputable source, and have already been deemed interesting enough to the IT crowd for a story on ITworld. So they get fast-tracked, and other worthy submissions are reviewed later, deemed to be duplicates, and discarded.

Would be nice if her submissions lead off with the fact that she was the managing editor for ITworld though, just to make it clear that she's just trying to feed traffic to her own site. (Which is a valid action if the story is original and interesting, but should require a disclaimer.)

Different things [Re:Misleading summary] (1)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | about 3 months ago | (#47283249)

It isn't as if another version was already submitted earlier, perhaps with a better summary for the editors to use:
http://slashdot.org/submission... [slashdot.org]

This is a different thing. The link you give is about the proposed settlement. The article here is about the judge questioning the current settlement offer.

Accurate summary (4, Insightful)

Piata (927858) | about 3 months ago | (#47282099)

She questioned the amount, the logic behind the amount and why the plaintiff's lawyers didn't feel a jury would find the emails a convincing argument for collusion. Not sure how you didn't find the summary accurate. I know it's a rarity on slashdot but this one is pretty spot on.

Re:Accurate summary (0)

i kan reed (749298) | about 3 months ago | (#47282153)

"Would X convince jurors" isn't actually a particularly applicable concern for approving a settlement. It reads a lot more like the judge having thoughts about the details of the case.

Re:Misleading summary (1)

sexconker (1179573) | about 3 months ago | (#47282165)

All the judge did, was ask whether historical fines to other companies are an appropriate precedent for Apple, Google, and the rest. This isn't "questioning the amount and logic" but regular old due diligence.

So the judge ASKED about the fine, and that's not QUESTIONING the fine?
Apparently you can't read.

Re:Misleading summary (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 3 months ago | (#47282229)

"Judge: $324M Settlement In Silicon Valley Tech Worker Case Not Enough"

Overstatement.

Re:Misleading summary (1)

Space cowboy (13680) | about 3 months ago | (#47282261)

Questioning and asking are two completely different things, otherwise one wouldn't "ask a question", one would either ask or question.

To question something is to doubt the premises that lead to a given statement. To ask something is to enquire about something. When one has doubts a conclusion (i.e.: questions), one normally asks to ascertain the veracity of the conclusion. This leads to the construct "to ask a question" as in "to resolve a doubt".

Simon

Re:Misleading summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47282277)

otherwise one wouldn't "ask a question", one would either ask or question.

That's not how language works. It's not always perfectly logic or to be taken literally, so your logic is not sound.

Re:Misleading summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47282417)

I question your grasp of this use of the word question. Note that there are no question marks here. Also note that I have not requested you to provide any additional information regarding the use of the word question.

Re:Misleading summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47282883)

I question your grasp of this use of the word question.

I question your reading comprehension. I never once said anything about whether his conclusions were right or wrong. Instead, I questioned the *logic* he used to come to his conclusions.

Yes, there is a difference.

Re:Misleading summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47282877)

Its how language works in the courtroom which is all that matters inside a courtroom.

Re:Misleading summary (1)

mjm1231 (751545) | about 3 months ago | (#47282385)

And yet, due to the vagaries of the English language, you cannot ask something without it being a question. Therefore, anything asked is a question.

Re:Misleading summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47283567)

And yet you can ask somebody a question without questioning them.

Re:Misleading summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47282621)

To question something is to doubt the premises that lead to a given statement. To ask something is to enquire about something.

You do realize that "to question" and "to enquire" are derived from exactly the same verb (quaerere) and that "to enquire" (inquirere) is the more probing version of the two?

Re:Misleading summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47283001)

I question the relevance of this entire line of inquiry, and ask that you please leave it be. I'd query you about the use of enquire vs inquire, but quizzically, I don't care.

Re:Misleading summary (1)

sexconker (1179573) | about 3 months ago | (#47283405)

Que?

More (4, Insightful)

sycodon (149926) | about 3 months ago | (#47282075)

The point of "punitive damages" is to punish the company...duh. But, how do you do that?

Just taking their money isn't enough, especially in the case of these companies. You can take astronomical amounts and it would be a drop in the bucket to them. What is $400 million to a company with billions in cash?

What you need to do is hurt them bad enough to affect their stock price. Then everyone takes notice. Board members have their positions threatened, when that happens, executives are fired, etc. THAT'S punishment.

Re:More (4, Insightful)

sexconker (1179573) | about 3 months ago | (#47282201)

The point of "punitive damages" is to punish the company...duh. But, how do you do that?

Just taking their money isn't enough, especially in the case of these companies. You can take astronomical amounts and it would be a drop in the bucket to them. What is $400 million to a company with billions in cash?

What you need to do is hurt them bad enough to affect their stock price. Then everyone takes notice. Board members have their positions threatened, when that happens, executives are fired, etc. THAT'S punishment.

Round up everyone in the company involved in the decision, freeze their assets, throw them in jail pending their criminal case, hold a trial, and imprison them further upon their inevitable conviction, then liquidate their assets and distribute to the affected parties. Oh wait, that would be justice.

Re:More (4, Funny)

paiute (550198) | about 3 months ago | (#47282337)

Round up everyone in the company involved in the decision, freeze their assets, throw them in jail pending their criminal case, hold a trial, and imprison them further upon their inevitable conviction, then liquidate their assets and distribute to the affected parties. Oh wait, that would be justice.

Put the Duke brothers' seats on the exchange up for sale at once. Seize all assets of Duke & Duke Commodities Brokers, as well as all personal holdings of Randolph and Mortimer Duke.

Re:More (1)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about 3 months ago | (#47282395)

That's going to go right over the heads of these young whippersnappers.

Re:More (2)

Yebyen (59663) | about 3 months ago | (#47282421)

I actually recognized this as Trading Places :D a movie that came out before I was born

Re:More (2)

Hevel-Varik (2700923) | about 3 months ago | (#47282419)

It was the Dukes?

Re:More (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47282641)

Great, now I'm picturing Randolph and Mortimer peeling out of town in the General Lee...

Re:More (4, Interesting)

timeOday (582209) | about 3 months ago | (#47282751)

Too much money and power are in on the take. Apple is worth about 12% of the entire Nasdaq [bloomberg.com] , so Apple + google is about 20% of the whole enchilada. In my Fidelity-managed 401K index fund, for example (that is, basically my life's savings), Apple is my #1 holding, right above Exxon, Google, and Microsoft. So 2 of those 4 would be directly impacted, and Microsoft would no doubt feel some fallout (through rising salaries for their talent).

In a true democracy this argument should not bear much weight, since MOST (over 50%) of all stock is owned by only 1% of citizens. Most of us have a tiny slice, and I (for example) would benefit much more from higher wages in the tech sector than from a little more growth in my 401K. But in general, we small-potatoes shareholders (that is, almost all shareholders) are too short-sighted to take a hit now for the long-term economy.

More ominously, real influence is proportional to the wealth of a group rather than how many people are in it. Even if you convinced the bottom 99% of voters, you would still only have a minority of shares.

The reason I dwell on this is because I think the same logic, exactly, explains why the bank bailout occurred and the implosion of Wall Street had no real corrective result on the US economy or the distribution of wealth.

Re:More (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47283115)

You forgot to say you should waterboard them all. Not to find anything out. Just to waterboard them.

Re:More (1)

swb (14022) | about 3 months ago | (#47283479)

I think if you could get the managers somehow personally responsible, the ideal justice would be letting the court seize assets of its choosing from the managers.

Don't just let them write a check to settle the matter, but let the court's special master come into their homes and choose things to sell on the open market at public auction to raise the cash. The defendant would be barred from bidding and the winning bidders must agree they may not give or sell the items to the defendant.

There's a special humiliation in seeing your home stripped of valuable art works, your cars repossessed, your yacht impounded, your wife's jewelry collection sold. Even if you could go buy replacement items on the open market at will.

Re:More (1)

rnturn (11092) | about 3 months ago | (#47283761)

``There's a special humiliation in seeing your home stripped...''

Yep... how would you like to face your neighbors after they've watched the contents of your home carted away for auctioning off?

Not having closely followed this case/trial (where's Groklaw when you need it) but surely there was an email trail that led to this decision/settlement. Either one that was revealed in court or one that would have named names that would have been revealed during the discovery phase. Extract all the names of those involved in those email threads and let the games begin!

Re:More (1)

swb (14022) | about 3 months ago | (#47283957)

What's missing from punishing the very rich isn't the taking of their money -- they have so much, they wouldn't miss it. It's not a punishment.

What's missing is the humiliation of their possessions being taken from them against their will in public view.

Re:More (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47283737)

Lol, don't be fucking retarded. Oh noes, they agreed not to poach from each other, quick execute somebody.

You are a shrilly hysterical douchebag.

Re:More (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47283921)

Yeah, "oh noes, they copied our movies without paying! Let's destroy their lives!"

Sorry, you can't deny that your justice system is completely broken. Might as well not care about it anymore.

Re:More (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47282235)

Multiply the amount by 1000. That should hurt.

Re:More (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47282391)

The penalties for copyright infringement are often more than an individual will earn throughout the rest of his life. Do the same here. Make them pay... I don't know. Ten thousand billion dollars each. Basically liquidate all of them.

Reason for fines as a % of net worth (1)

Fallen Kell (165468) | about 3 months ago | (#47282423)

Again, more reason for fines to be based as a % of net worth and not simply hard cap values. A fine of a year of the company's average income or 10% of their net worth will actually hurt a company and force it to pay heed to the laws. As it stands, these companies have saved more and thus made more by breaking the law than they will ever be hurt by fines....

Re:More (1)

debatecoach (2883733) | about 3 months ago | (#47282605)

No. The point of punitive damages is to change the managers' behavior. What you suggest would hurt the stock holders and the customers (let's be real, the cost of a judgement gets passed on to them), neither of which were involved in the misdemeanor. How much money was "saved" by the illegal collusion? How often would companies expect to get away with such behavior? These two are critical in determining the correct fine. If they can't expect to get away with it, the penalty should be "a little" higher than the money they hoped to "save". If they expect to get away with it 80% of the time, then it needs to be 5X that amount, to ensure the costs outweigh the benefits. I understand the anger over such behavior, but letting that anger drive a legal response would have unintended consequences. We should carefully consider a punishment to only harm those deserving of that punishment.

Re:More (3, Insightful)

SydShamino (547793) | about 3 months ago | (#47282905)

There is nothing that civil law can do that is punitive to the managers. They didn't do anything; the company did things, and they are merely one of the louder of the company's schizophrenic voices. To get at them where it matters (their wallet), you'd have to go after company assets and hope it indirectly affects them as the parent suggests.

Only criminal law could pierce that veil and go after them directly, and while that can be quite punitive, it's not bloody likely.

Re:More (4, Informative)

Cabriel (803429) | about 3 months ago | (#47282739)

Given that $324 million for 64 000 employees means just a hair over $5000 per person, I'd have to say the judgement should have been closer to $3 Billion. Or, if you really want to talk punitive, $32 Billion.

Re:More (2)

afidel (530433) | about 3 months ago | (#47283087)

Well, you have to figure the wage suppression was worth significantly more than $5,000 per worker, heck it was probably worth between 2 and 4 times that per year and the case involves at least a half decade of bad actions, so make it 10k per worker per year and that works out to ~3.2B. It's certainly not going to bankrupt these companies but it will affect their quarterly results which might be enough to get folks attention.

Re:More (2)

whoever57 (658626) | about 3 months ago | (#47283881)

Well, you have to figure the wage suppression was worth significantly more than $5,000 per worker, heck it was probably worth between 2 and 4 times that per year and the case involves at least a half decade of bad actions, so make it 10k per worker per year and that works out to ~3.2B.

In this case, I believe that the lawyers are putting their interests above that of the clients. An average person in the class is making well over $100k. For that person, which is better: $5k guaranteed or a 25% chance of $50k? Obviously the latter. However, for the lawyers, the question is rather different. Get guaranteed $Millions now, or spend a lot more time and effort to get a $25% chance of $multi-millions? Most people would probably opt for the $Millions and that's what these lawyers are doing -- grab the easy guaranteed money and move on to the next class action.

Re:More (1)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | about 3 months ago | (#47283651)

The point of "punitive damages" is to punish the company...duh. But, how do you do that?

Just taking their money isn't enough, especially in the case of these companies. You can take astronomical amounts and it would be a drop in the bucket to them. What is $400 million to a company with billions in cash?

What you need to do is hurt them bad enough to affect their stock price. Then everyone takes notice. Board members have their positions threatened, when that happens, executives are fired, etc. THAT'S punishment.

First of all, this a settlement proposal, not damages.

Second, while punitive damages take into account the financial capability of the defendant they also have to have some reasonable relationships to the actual damages the defendants suffered as well. If we assume that the $325K represents actual damages, punitive damages of $1.3 billion might be considered legally acceptable. While that is a large number, divided by 4 defendants with very deep pockets it's still less than they pay for a few acquisitions.

Personally, I think punitive damage awards should go to paying legal fees (if that isn't already done) and into a fund to pay awards to plaintiffs that win but can't collect, such as when a company subsequently declares bankruptcy rather than simply enrich palliatives beyond actual damage they suffered.

Re:More (1)

AnOnyxMouseCoward (3693517) | about 3 months ago | (#47283707)

How do you propose you'd affect the stock price? Given a stock price is a valuation on the financial prospects of a company, wouldn't punitive damages impact it? Now of course, 400M for 4 large tech firms is not going to significantly impact anything, which is exactly why the judge questioned the amount (and it is by no mean an astronomical amount). Up it to 4, or 8 billions, and see if they take notice. Then the stock price will be impacted, the board members will start asking questions (unless they're too cozy up there), and you get the result you want.

Surprise (3, Insightful)

hondo77 (324058) | about 3 months ago | (#47282081)

The proposed settlement mainly benefits the lawyers and not the people damaged. What a surprise.

$507.03 (0)

denis-The-menace (471988) | about 3 months ago | (#47282087)

$324.5 million / 64000 workers = $507.03

These tech workers are getting fuck either way.

Re:$507.03 (2, Informative)

Etherwalk (681268) | about 3 months ago | (#47282147)

$324.5 million / 64000 workers = $507.03

These tech workers are getting fuck either way.

$5070. It almost certainly isn't enough to make the engineers whole, but it is more than nothing and not completely unrespectable. (They didn't lose their entire salary, but did lose some money.)

It is a *settlement* proposal, though. It's not supposed to be enough to make them whole--just more reasonable for both sides than fighting.

Re:$507.03 (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47282523)

Not even close reasonable; the lawyers are going to take half.

Then the government is going to take 33%.

That leaves the engineers with about a week of salary--probably actually less.

6 months salary for the ones who didn't loose their jobs+ 1 year of compensation for any who lost their job because of this + lawyers fees would be reasonable.

Re:$507.03 (1)

Etherwalk (681268) | about 3 months ago | (#47282615)

Not even close reasonable; the lawyers are going to take half.

Then the government is going to take 33%.

That leaves the engineers with about a week of salary--probably actually less.

6 months salary for the ones who didn't loose their jobs+ 1 year of compensation for any who lost their job because of this + lawyers fees would be reasonable.

Lawyer's fees generally come out of the pocket of the side hiring the lawyers--it doesn't go into the calculation, unless we change that rule on a systemic level.

Six months *may* be reasonable, but it's a math problem, and a very speculative one--what would their salaries have been *without* the anti-competitive practices?

Re:$507.03 (1)

tomhath (637240) | about 3 months ago | (#47283009)

Lawyer's fees generally come out of the pocket of the side hiring the lawyers

This is a class action lawsuit. The plaintiff's lawyers will get the biggest share of the settlement.

Re:$507.03 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47283299)

It's more reasonable than a week.

Re:$507.03 (1)

gnupun (752725) | about 3 months ago | (#47283699)

According to this article [lawyers.com] , lawyers take more or less 25% of the total award. So the lawyers make $81 million, whereas the plaintiffs make $324M x 0.75 / 64,000 = $3800 each, roughly.

Re:$507.03 (2)

Major Ralph (2711189) | about 3 months ago | (#47282157)

Missed a decimal place there buddy, it's $5070.31

Re:$507.03 (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 3 months ago | (#47282161)

Well...saying people with salaries approaching or exceeding six figures are "getting fucked" is a bit of an exaggeration.

Re:$507.03 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47282241)

Except that it's Silicon Valley. Just look at your expenses and move the decimal point to right one place and you'll get a good enough estimate of the costs they have to deal with.

not when you can't afford to live on it (1)

schlachter (862210) | about 3 months ago | (#47282379)

and besides, if someone steals your money from you, to give it to their shareholders or bosses, you're getting fucked...even if you can handle the loss better than others.

Re:$507.03 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47282437)

These workers are losing potentially tens of thousands of dollars per year due to the collusion of these companies. It doesn't matter that their salaries are over $100,000. $100,000/annum in Silicon Valley is a pittance, especially if these workers are the most productive. Furthermore, $100,000 is nothing if you consider that this collusion has been going on for multiple years.

The financial penalty to these companies should be on the order of $6bln or more: enough to pay out $100,000 per affected worker. To that, tack on an extra 33% to the fine to cover legal expenses.

Re:$507.03 (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 3 months ago | (#47282177)

That assumes there'd be enough sniping to up the wages of 64,000 workers. I doubt there's that much exchange; most of these people have standing because they could have been affected, even if they in reality would never have been impacted.

Re:$507.03 (3, Interesting)

mikael (484) | about 3 months ago | (#47282181)

Something significant would be a decades worth of pay-rises for each employee affected.

That would be $10,000 x 10 x 64000 = $6.4 billion

Re:$507.03 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47282193)

Please tell me you're not an accountant.

Literally off by an order of magnitude.

Re:$507.03 (1)

sexconker (1179573) | about 3 months ago | (#47282217)

$324.5 million / 64000 workers = $507.03

These tech workers are getting fuck either way.

I think you need to multiply that number by 10.
Then divide it by 10 again since the lawyers will take 90% of it.

Re:$507.03 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47282411)

Michael Bolton: I don't know what happened, I must have missed a decimal point or something...

$5070! (1)

fxsoap (1562569) | about 3 months ago | (#47282109)

My my! All that trouble, wages screwed with and people's lives treated like they were, you get $5070 and some change. Good day. HAHA. Glad they rejected the settlement.

That settlement figure is a scam... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47282135)

That's about $5000 per employee, much less than the costs to the businesses otherwise.

Try $6.5 billion...then they will think twice about this crap.

Re:That settlement figure is a scam... (1)

gnupun (752725) | about 3 months ago | (#47282849)

$10,000 to 20,000 per employee per year of collusion + lawyer expenses + fines. The collusion began in 2005 and the class action suit was filed in 2011 -- 7 years of abuse. So the settlement should be at least:

7 x 10,000 x 64,000 = $4.48 billion to $9 billion.

Re:That settlement figure is a scam... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47283199)

Remember that this is in some of the most high cost of living areas in the country in one of the best paying industries. Ten-thousand per year per person may be a fair loss from a general population but not this one. Double that would be more accurate for these coastal tech workers. Even twenty-thousand per year does not come close to punitive measures either. Generally for punitive damages it is between three and ten times the amount stolen. For it to be fair $27 billion should be the low end. Hell, just trading a couple hundred copywritten albums would get any one of us into the $300 million fine range. Why are companies allowed to get away with so much more?

Re:That settlement figure is a scam... (1)

afidel (530433) | about 3 months ago | (#47283447)

Then figure treble damages as a punitive fine (obviously not if they settle, but if they're found criminally liable) and it starts to add up to real money, even to companies of this size.

It can never be fair (5, Insightful)

ChrisKnight (16039) | about 3 months ago | (#47282185)

The actions of this cabal of companies has had a lasting effect on everyone working the tech sector. The normal cycle of hiring employees out of their existing position with an offer of more money helps to drive the average salary for a position up. Years of refusing do to that caused average salaries to stagnate. When I was offered a position at Apple in 2007 I scoffed at the rate I was offered, and I was told that Apple prided themselves in paying industry median salaries. What they neglected to mention was that they were actively working to keep the industry median down. I never took the position at Apple, and am not eligible in the suit; but that doesn't mean I wasn't affected. Many companies gauge offer salaries and raises against industry salary reports like those generated by Glass Door and other wage survey groups. Because some of the biggest employers in tech were working to keep wages down, and their rates significantly contributed to those salary reports, they effectively kept an entire employment sector's wages low.

How do you compensate for that? You can't. No court settlement will make up for the damage caused by this.

Re:It can never be fair (2)

joe_frisch (1366229) | about 3 months ago | (#47282377)

Shouldn't this be a case of criminal collusion? At the very least it seems punitive damages are appropriate, and those could far exceed the nominal damage done.

Re:It can never be fair (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47282441)

Two words: Prove it.

Re:It can never be fair (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47283129)

two words: NSA Records

Re:It can never be fair (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47282717)

I am 53 years old in Kansas -
      I too had this impact me. As a result I have likely lost $100,000 to $200,000 over the last XX years. It would have been 1/3 of my current retirement monies.
It still continues to impact me as when I go for new positions they are based on my current, not my "what it should have been" rate.

How do I get my money ? And no chance I am using my real name.

Re:It can never be fair (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47283751)

Oh bullshit. Bunch of whining, and I'm actually one of the affected employees who will get money supposedly.

Unions do the exact same thing, why isn't that collusion? I see no issue with a bunch of companies agreeing not to engage in a poaching war.

Holy shit, seriously? (2, Insightful)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 3 months ago | (#47282189)

Lucy Koh is still a judge?! My god, our legal system is a shithole.

Re:Holy shit, seriously? (1)

iggymanz (596061) | about 3 months ago | (#47282285)

oh come on, she made awesome statement that 'Apple attorneys must be "smoking crack" ' , that's worth a lot

Re:Holy shit, seriously? (4, Informative)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 3 months ago | (#47282513)

I remember her consistently applying judiciary favoritism, e.g. allowing a plaintiff to introduce late evidence all the damn time but denying defense evidence because it wasn't declared in discovery.

Not after the lawyers get their cut! (2)

Irate Engineer (2814313) | about 3 months ago | (#47282215)

You're assuming that entire settlement goes to the plaintiffs. The lawyers will get several 10s of millions of that first.

Re:Not after the lawyers get their cut! (1)

jratcliffe (208809) | about 3 months ago | (#47282367)

Typically, about 1/3, so call it $100M.

$5000 per worker before lawyers fees? (3, Insightful)

sjbe (173966) | about 3 months ago | (#47282349)

So that settlement works out to roughly $5000 per worker before lawyer's fees, which are sure to be substantial. Sounds a bit light to me, especially given the amount of cash the relevant companies have in the bank.

Re:$5000 per worker before lawyers fees? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47282765)

The money those companies have in the bank probably is not a consideration nor should it be.

Re:$5000 per worker before lawyers fees? (1)

Yebyen (59663) | about 3 months ago | (#47282831)

Then I would wager that you are not a member of the affected class of workers. I promise you they didn't collude to keep our salaries low because they just don't care about profits and their shareholders told them not to worry because they already had enough money in the bank for dividends.

Re:$5000 per worker before lawyers fees? (1)

SecurityGuy (217807) | about 3 months ago | (#47283149)

That's true. What should be a consideration is how much the affected parties were harmed. Did wage suppression really only cost them $5000 each? Not even per year, but each, over the entire time it was happening. That's where damages should start. Then you should multiply it, because you want getting caught doing the bad thing not to simply result in having to pay for it, because then hey, why not do the bad thing? We only have to pay for it if we get caught, and we might not.

Basically, make a rational analysis of the "should I do evil" calculus come out "No."

Re:$5000 per worker before lawyers fees? (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 3 months ago | (#47282815)

So that settlement works out to roughly $5000 per worker before lawyer's fees, which are sure to be substantial. Sounds a bit light to me, especially given the amount of cash the relevant companies have in the bank.

Agreed. I'd say the minimum amount those workers were hurt by this would be in the $10k range each. Probably more like $20k. Companies don't violate anti-trust law to save a couple of grand...

Does anyone know if if the settlement is supposed to in any way be punitive? If the workers are just supposed to get back what they lost, then I'd say something in the $1billion range would make sense. But if this is meant to be punitive, it should be doubled at least.

It's a compromise. Not punitive. (2)

sjbe (173966) | about 3 months ago | (#47283151)

Does anyone know if if the settlement is supposed to in any way be punitive?

Settlements are almost by definition not punitive. It's an agreement between the two parties. The defendant gives less than what might happen if there was an actual ruling by a judge/jury. The plaintiff takes a certain but lesser amount rather than taking an all or nothing risk with a ruling.

Re:$5000 per worker before lawyers fees? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47283513)

While growing up in Philadelphia my dad drove a dump truck in college.
They would exceed the weight limits and make twice the money than if they followed the load law.
They know that getting stopped and checked was remote so they just considered the tickets a cost of doing business - which got passed onto the customer anyway.

Same thing here. They got away with it for 5 to 10 years with tens of thousands of employees impacted.
$5,000 is woefully inadequate.

Lesson learned (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47282435)

Thank you your honor.
We are very sorry that you got us red handed.
But if only this is the price for keeping down the wages, we will meet next month to explorer further secret deals.
Sign Google, Apple Adobe and Intel

$2500 apiece after the lawyers? (2)

Chas (5144) | about 3 months ago | (#47282785)

Basically 324.5 mil, divided by 64,000 people comes out to $5070.31.
The lawyers involved will probably get at least half. So these tech workers' compensation works out to a measly $2500 or so?
These companies made BILLIONS. And these workers were denied opportunities to advance their careers that could have worked out to SIGNIFICANTLY more than $2500. Hell, that's a fricking Christmas bonus.

$5,000 per employee (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47282865)

That works out to about $5,000 per employee, at least if they were going for actual damages (not punitive) it seems pretty low for some, reasonable for most & a bit high for a few but overall its probably not too far off. That assumes though that the legal fees aren't going to take a big chunk of the settlement, which they probably will.

What about the rest of us? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47282919)

What about all the rest of us tech workers whose companies set our salaries based on a "survey" of salaries at the "industry-leading companies" such as Apple, Adobe, etc...

They fucked us over too, often by roughly the same amount of dollars.

Justice? (2)

Moof123 (1292134) | about 3 months ago | (#47282923)

The settlement is weak. Nobody responsible is going to jail. The theme just repeats itself. Those in power can either drag things out so long, or be claimed to be too "big to prosecute" by Eric Placeholder's DOJ (bought and paid for by corporate sponsors, funny that...) and never have any real punishment brought on them of consequence.

If the precedent goes on too long where too many angry screwed peons do not have any sense of justice, you may see vigilantism kick in. Screwed workers who feel they have little left to lose might start going postal after realizing that their American Dream is just such a farce.

Re:Justice? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47283835)

Civil suits aren't the same as criminal, FYI.

Punishment? What punishment? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47282977)

Let's play with financial data for a moment, shall we?

Revenue in FY2013:
Google: $59.8B
Apple: $170.9B
Intel: $52.7B
Adobe: $4B
Total: $287.4B
Settlement: $0.324B (0.11% of yearly revenue)

Median US household income: ~$52K
0.11% of that: ~$57

So, this is the equivalent of a regular Joe breaking the law for 7 years and, when caught, being fined $57.

Is this a deterrent or an encouragement?

What would Justice look like? (1)

asylumx (881307) | about 3 months ago | (#47283131)

Justice in this case might look simple -- take a bunch of money from the companies and give it to the employees that would have earned it (and penalties, of course). The problem is, this affects a bunch of innocent bystanders. These are top stocks in this country. Lots of retirement funds are wrapped up in these stocks. If you penalize the companies the "rightful" amount, you will definitely harm their stocks, which means members of the police retirement fund in Maine (across the country) stand to lose their asses through no fault of their own.

It's easy to throw around ideas of vengeance & justice on these kinds of situations, but the world is a complicated place, and sometimes what appears obvious and "common sense" is actually the most harmful thing you can do.

Re:What would Justice look like? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47283797)

The problem is, this affects a bunch of innocent bystanders. These are top stocks in this country. Lots of retirement funds are wrapped up in these stocks

These people aren't innocent bystanders; The are the owners of the company, the people who chose (either directly or indirectly) to invest their money in the board that made these decisions. At best, we're all guilty of complicity, at worse we're guilty of much more.

Re:What would Justice look like? (4, Insightful)

RavenLrD20k (311488) | about 3 months ago | (#47283891)

Them's the breaks. When shit like this starts sending quakes through the portfolios of the general population *MAYBE* it'll be enough to wake up the collective to say "Hey! What the Fuck?!" and break apart some of this complacency iceberg we have going on.

the same companies (2)

poached (1123673) | about 3 months ago | (#47283191)

are also heavy users of H1-B visas which also depress wages. I say fuck them all. But I don't know how to actually go about fucking them over.

Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47283383)

Unless she makes it billions and billions, I know 64000 tech workers who will be blacklisted....

Oh please, they own the courts (1)

gelfling (6534) | about 3 months ago | (#47283685)

This will get turned over on appeal. We're talking about the courts in Silicon Valley which aren't real courts.

It's not to late to drop out of the class (1)

rahvin112 (446269) | about 3 months ago | (#47283787)

It's not to late to file letters with the court dropping out of the class to pursue your own case because the settlement doesn't fit what you think is fair.

If enough people protest the settlement and drop out they will be forced to redo it.

Wonder just how many voted to except (1)

Stan92057 (737634) | about 3 months ago | (#47284013)

Wonder just how many voted to except this so called settlement. Yet another FU to the workers of America by Cooperate America and the corrupt law system we have. Lawyers taking care of Lawyers And liberty and justice for all. Who can afforded it. IMO
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