Apple, Google Try Again to Settle Hiring Case: Business of Law

Apple Inc. and Google Inc. reached a new settlement over claims they and other Silicon Valley companies conspired to avoid hiring one another’s employees, after a judge concluded their first proposal didn’t offer enough money for affected workers.

The agreement, whose terms weren’t disclosed in a court filing Jan. 13, again hinges on the approval of U.S. District Judge Lucy H. Koh in San Jose, California, who in August rejected the initial $324.5 million accord as too small.

Koh said the companies, which also include Adobe Systems Inc. and Intel Corp., should pay at least $380 million given “ample evidence” of antitrust violations that might result in damages of more than $9 billion if the case went to trial.

The companies resumed negotiations with the workers while also appealing Koh’s ruling.

Kelly Dermody, a lawyer for the workers, and Chuck Mulloy, a spokesman for Santa Clara, California-based Intel, each confirmed the new settlement, declining to discuss details. Kristin Huguet, a spokeswoman for Cupertino, California-based Apple, declined to comment.

One of the objections to the original settlement was filed by a former Adobe employee, whose lawyer, Daniel Girard, argued that while the proposed average payout was $3,572, if they won at trial they could have each received as much as $141,331.

The rejected settlement would have given the employees’ lawyers $81 million in fees plus $1.2 million in costs.

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

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Firm News

Goodwin Procter, Kaye Scholer and Cowan DeBaets Add Partners

Goodwin Procter LLP has hired Jay Schifferli as a partner in its private-equity group in Washington. Schifferli was previously a partner and chairman of the private-equity practice of Kelley Drye & Warren LLP.

Schifferli focuses on mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures, public and private securities offerings and compliance, and general corporate, securities and business matters.

Doug Jacobs, a veteran of A&E Networks, is joining entertainment boutique Cowan, DeBaets, Abrahams & Sheppard LLP as a partner in New York. Jacobs was general counsel at A&E for 17 years, until last January, when he became senior counsel.

Elan P. Keller has joined Kaye Scholer LLP as a partner in the tax department. A lawyer and a certified public accountant, Keller advises clients on a broad range of tax matters. He was previously an international corporate tax partner at Caplin & Drysdale.

Barnes & Thornburg, Hopkins and Shackelford Add to Their Ranks

Barnes & Thornburg LLP has hired Bradley Olson as a partner in its intellectual property department in Washington. Olson focuses on patent litigation and was previously a partner at Haynes & Boone.

Hopkins & Carley, a Silicon Valley firm with primary offices in San Jose and Palo Alto, California, hired Chuck Reed, the former mayor of San Jose, as special counsel. Reed, who recently completed two terms as mayor, is joining the real estate group.

Shackelford, Melton, McKinley & Norton LLP has hired civil litigator and family-law attorney Joshua Northam and tax and financial services attorney Benjamin Sparks in its Dallas office. Northam joins as a partner from Blume, Faulkner, Skeen & Northam PLLC. Sparks, who is of counsel, was previously a senior manager in the financial services group of Ernst & Young.


Debevoise Partner to Lead International Bar Association

David W. Rivkin, a partner at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, is the new president of the International Bar Association. Rivkin, the first U.S. lawyer to hold the position in 25 years, is co-chairman of the international dispute-resolution group at Debevoise. According to a statement from the IBA, Rivkin has handled international arbitrations worldwide.

In the News

Los Angeles Sole Practitioner Helps Groups Fight Big Developers

Target Corp. stopped construction of a new store. Real estate investor CIM Group was ordered to suspend leasing at a 301-unit apartment tower. And Millennium Partners’ $664 million high-rise complex may never get off the ground.

All three projects, located in the Hollywood area of Los Angeles, were held up by Robert Silverstein, who has emerged as the go-to attorney for community groups seeking to slow growth in the second-largest U.S. metropolis.

“I use the David-versus-Goliath metaphor a lot, but it’s generally true,” Silverstein, 46, said in an interview. “It’s not an easy thing to fight government or big developers.”

Community-based efforts to control development have increased in response to a Los Angeles construction revival. The disputes are driving up project costs in a real estate market that’s already expensive, making it harder to add retail space and homes in the country’s least-affordable city for housing.

Silverstein uses the California Environmental Quality Act, along with open-meeting laws and public-record requests to find flaws in proposed projects, forcing developers to alter their plans or face costly delays and litigation.

Development proponents argue that laws are being misused on behalf of well-heeled activists willing to sacrifice economic growth to protect their lifestyles and property values.

Phil Aarons a developer, said in an e-mail, “It’s unfortunate that a small group of very vocal hillside residents continue to press their opposition when so many people both in the local community and throughout Los Angeles share our vision of what Hollywood can and should be.”

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