Judge Won’t Make FTC Enforce Google Buzz Settlement
On January 26, 2012, a skeptical federal judge in California heard arguments in In Re High Tech Employee Antitrust Litigation, on why a follow-on class action alleging an “overarching conspiracy” to suppress employee wages between Apple, Inc., Google, Inc, and other high-tech companies regarding bi-laterally negotiated non-solicitation agreements should proceed. The action was filed on the heels of civil settlements with the DOJ in which the Defendants admitted no wrongdoing.
DOJ had alleged that the Defendants entered into six separate bilateral agreements spread out over a 2 ½ year period agreeing not to “cold call” each others’ skilled high-tech employees. In each instance, the alleged agreements involved only two companies, and with one exception DOJ pleaded nothing more than an agreement not to “cold call.” The Defendants settled with DOJ, admitting no liability, and in essence agreed not to enter into these types of agreements and end any such relationships that might exist.
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