Last month, Adobe, Apple, Google and Intel agreed to a settlement with their employees in a class-action lawsuit for US$324 million, but one plaintiff is saying that amount is unacceptable.
The lawsuit, which kicked off in 2011, accused seven companies of conspiring to keep wages low and engaging in a no-poaching agreement. It included, aside from the aforementioned companies, Intuit, Lucasfilm and Pixar. Lucasfilm and Pixar have already agreed to settle the lawsuit for $9 million, while Intuit agreed to $11 million, but those agreements only affected a small percentage of the 64,600 plaintiffs.
The case was expected to go to trial at the end of May. Had it gone to trial, the workers would have asked for $3 billion in damages.
“The amount of $324 million is grossly inadequate and fails to achieve justice for the Class. Therefore I respectfully ask that the Court reject it as unfair and unjust,” wrote Michael Devine, plaintiff, in an open letter to the judge handling the case. “The Class wants a chance at real justice. We want our day in court.”
Devine also noted that the $324 million is only one-tenth of the estimated $3 billion lost in damages.
“As an analogy, if a shoplifter is caught on video stealing a $400 iPad from the Apple Store, would a fair and just resolution be for the shoplifter to pay Apple $40, keep the iPad, and walk away with no record or admission of wrongdoing? Of course not, nor is such a resolution appropriate in our case,” Devine wrote.
The plaintiffs’ lawyers negotiated the settlement, but he said had he known he wouldn’t have agreed.
“I was not informed that the most recent round of mediation that lead to the tentative settlement was even taking place until the day after Plaintiffs’ and Defendants’ counsel had already reached an agreement,” Devine wrote.
Devine is a class representative in the case. His grievances do not reflect the entire class’ opinion. In order for the court to overturn the settlement, a significant amount of class members would have to join him in opposition. As of this writing, none of the other members of the class have issued a statement about Devine’s petition.
Devine has set up the website called Tech Worker Justice, and is currently looking for support for his position.