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Goldstein, Demchak, Baller, Borgen & Dardarian is seeking class action status in an employment suit that takes aim at what its defenders call standard Silicon Valley practice. In a case filed Thursday in San Francisco Superior Court, Goldstein Demchak partner Laura Ho argues that eBay violated contracts with about 100 employees when it sold a subsidiary in 2002 and canceled stock options held by the subsidiary’s employees. In Archbold v. E-Bay, 03-439143, Ho said that eBay lured workers to a subsidiary, Butterfields Auctioneers Corp., with the promise of eBay stock options. But when eBay sold the San Francisco-based auction house, Ho said, it cancelled many unvested stock options and required the vested options to be exercised at an earlier date than required in employees’contracts. Ho is alleging breach of contract and unfair business practice claims and that eBay committed fraud by promising stock options to new workers even after it had decided to sell Butterfields. EBay spokesman Chris Donlay said Thursday that the company had not yet seen the suit, but he read a prepared statement that said that eBay’s options policy is no different from other companies’. “We believe our stock option plan is consistent with � plans throughout the industry in limiting the vesting of options to only people who are employees or employees of companies where we own a majority interest,” he said. Archbold is the first suit over the withdrawal of stock options to seek class action status in California, said Ho, adding that she expects to see others. Ho said the class action claim follows a suit filed last year by a former Butterfields worker in San Francisco Superior Court. Ho said that both cases originated with Craig Ackermann of Ackermann & Tilajef in L.A., who is co-counsel with her firm.

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