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Intuit Settles Antitrust Suit Over No-Hire Agreement

July 31 (Bloomberg) -- Intuit Inc. settled a lawsuit alleging it and five other companies violated U.S. antitrust law by agreeing with competitors not to recruit one another’s employees.

The lawsuit is a private action on behalf of employees that mirrors claims the companies settled with the U.S. Justice Department in 2010. Plaintiffs lawyers have argued that more than 160,000 employees, from engineers to sous chefs, had their incomes held down by the companies’ agreements not to recruit one another’s workers.

The employees and Intuit have “reached an agreement to settle all individual and class claims” on behalf of a proposed “technical class” identified in an October filing, plaintiffs lawyers wrote in a letter yesterday to U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California. The two sides will present Koh with the proposed settlement in the “near future,” according to the letter.

Diane Carlini, a spokeswoman for Mountain View, California-based Intuit, confirmed the settlement and declined to comment further.

This month, units of Walt Disney Co., the world’s largest theme-park operator, also tentatively settled the lawsuit. Animation studio Pixar and visual-effects specialist Lucasfilm Ltd. told Koh they agreed to settle all claims, according to court papers filed July 12.

Other companies named as defendants are Apple Inc., Google Inc., Intel Corp., Adobe Systems Inc. and Lucasfilm Ltd.

The case is In Re High-Tech Employee Antitrust Litigation, 11-cv-02509, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Jose).

To contact the reporter on this story: Joel Rosenblatt in San Francisco at jrosenblatt@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net.

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