Apple, six others win ruling blocking class action antitrust lawsuit

“Apple Inc. (AAPL) and six other companies won a court order to block potentially thousands of employees, from engineers to sous chefs, from proceeding in a group lawsuit that their incomes were held down by the companies’ agreements not to recruit one another’s workers,” Joel Rosenblatt reports for Bloomberg.

“U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California, ruled today that information-sharing by plaintiffs lawyers and the companies may permit the case to go forward and the employees may refile their claims with the newer information,” Rosenblatt reports. “The case can’t proceed now as a class action, partly because ‘plaintiffs examples, though compelling, may not be sufficient to show that all or nearly all class members were affected by the anti-solicitation agreements without additional documentary support or empirical analysis,’ Koh wrote.”

Read more in the full article here.


  1. No, it means that potentially thousands of current and former employees are not automatically added to the pool of plaintiffs in the case. Those people could file their own lawsuits, but the court will not allow the plaintiffs’ attorneys to pull them in and significantly broaden the scope of the current lawsuit.

    And yes, the case will move forward, just without all the other employees.

  2. Congress has not passed a law prohibiting companies from prohibiting free speech, which is what anti-poaching and anti-competition clauses are. The free marketplace of ideas and talent is what made American business grow. Anti-poaching agreements are as un-American an idea as socialized medecine. Europe stopped the practice by forcing employers to compensate employees that do not want working at their competitors. The US economy SUCKS because of the al,ost indentured servant-type clauses. I cannot understand how if Congress cannot stop tpyour free speech but your employer can. It is killing the US economy.

    1. OK… So I hire an in-duh-vidual and train him/her to perform business related specific tasks at my expense and that are considered trade secret by my company and so registered – costing me literally tens of thousands of dollars, I should be happy to let him/her move on to my competitor with that knowledge right out of the box?

      That makes sense.

      FYI, one reason that the US economy sucks is because of the free ride the last two (Republican and Democratic) administrations have given to the financial institutions and to corporations who after receiving “bail outs’ (call them what they are free gifts at the expense of the American people), there is no incentive to get America back on track. NONE.

      Second reason is that as long as the US is in bed with China and China manufactures over 50% of the world’s consumer goods (yes, including Apple products) and does not bring them home, the US will be in the shitt*r.

      As an example, Hawai’i has passed a bill that supports new innovation with tax incentives for the business and investor. No other state in the US offers the same incentives. In fact, no where else in the world offers them. I am moving my company back to Hawai’i just for that reason. I will be hiring and training 2500 people.

      I guess it will be OK to train them at about $100K each and then allow them to move on to a competitor? I, for some reason, do not see your logic.

      By the way, as a casual question: Do you own a business with employees that if they leave your company can they cause you irreparable harm by passing on what they learned at your com any? Didn’t think so.

      All my employees must sign a 25 year non-compete non-disclosure agreement. However, I don’t lose employees because I treat my employees like human beings and value them and respect them.

      The other reason businesses are failing in the US. Those companies that treat their employees as I do mine, are thriving.

      Cheers and Aloha.

      1. Yes, very well said. You slammed this one out of the park.

        “employees must sign a 25 year non-compete non-disclosure agreement.”

        Though a rather long term; some might think a 7-10 year would be more appropriate – but either way – Andy Rubin would have been stopped dead and Android would have never seen the light.

      2. Twenty-five years for a noncompete clause would most likely be struck down by the courts as unreasonable. In any event, you would not be able to keep them from joining a competitor based in California.

        Also, this particular suit has nothing to do with noncompete agreements: this is a violation of federal restraint of trade laws. The companies illegally (ie they broke the law) agreed to not hire each others’ employees.

        I would guess that your business, if you actually do have one, is not in the legal field.

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