Plaintiffs in the "no poach" litigation against tech behemoths including Google Inc. and Apple Inc. suffered a setback Friday when they lost their bid for class certification.
But U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh said she’d let them try again.
Koh said in her ruling that it remains unclear if the entirety of the proposed class was affected by the alleged collusion between the companies and questioned whether the proposed class is too large.
Koh, however, gave plaintiffs another shot, saying it is possible that new evidence unearthed during discovery may back up plaintiffs’ petition.
She noted that since a January hearing defendants have produced more than 10,000 documents and deposed more than 50 executives at the defending companies, including chief executives.
The case follows a Justice Department investigation into the companies’ employment and recruitment practices. In September 2010 the DOJ sued the defendants alleging that they had negotiated a series of agreements that restrained competition for highly skilled employees. The companies eventually settled without admitting any wrongdoing.
Employees at the companies, represented by Joseph Saveri of the Joseph Saveri Law Firm and Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, later filed five separate suits in California state court, which were consolidated last July and transferred to San Jose federal court in August. Koh denied a motion to dismiss the case last April.
Besides Google and Apple, other defendants are Intel Corp., Intuit Inc., Adobe Systems Inc. and Walt Disney Co.’s Pixar unit.
The defense lineup includes O’Melveny & Myers (for Apple); Keker & Van Nest (for LucasFilm); Jones Day (for Adobe and Intuit); Mayer Brown (for Google); Bingham McCutchen (for Intel); and Covington & Burling (for Pixar).