Apple, Google, Intel, and Adobe are facing a $9 billion lawsuit

A California federal judge on Friday rejected a bid by Apple, Google, Intel, and Adobe Systems to exclude testimony from a plaintiffs’ expert and rule in their favor in a class action accusing them of agreeing not to poach one another’s employees. The suit was brought in 2011 by software engineers with the tech companies who allege the companies agreed to provide one another notice whenever one made an offer to another company’s employee, cap pay packages for prospective hires in order.

A class-action lawsuit from tech sector employees against employers including Apple and Google seeks some $9 billion in lost wages — an astronomical sum that the complainants could ultimately receive, some believe, thanks to a mountain of evidence appearing to implicate Silicon Valley employers in an alleged no-hire cartel. About 100,000 employees are involved in the lawsuit, seeking a payment of about $90,000 per person — a payment The New York Times characterized this week as a “blindingly high number.” But the employees are apparently confident in seeking $9 billion because the evidence against employers, who are accused of agreeing to anti-poaching agreements that may have been anticompetitive, and thus may have kept down employee wages.

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